A friend and I helped a USPS employee and police find and arrest a man in the Fitler Square area of Philadelphia, PA around 5:00 PM (EST) on August 19th, 2017.
While walking east on Locust Street, we were approached on the corner of 23rd and Locust by a man named Mr. Mason, a USPS delivery driver, asking us if we had seen a tall black man wearing a black shirt and dark pants. We replied that we had not and asked why. Mr. Mason stated that he had just dropped off a package to someone’s residence, and upon returning to his truck, he saw a black man looking around, then grabbing the package he had just delivered.
Mr. Mason went on to say he approached the man and asked him to put the package back and kept going, as he didn’t want to get into a confrontation with him; he was afraid the man could possibly be carrying a knife and/or gun. The man put the package back down and casually walked away.
We then spotted the suspect walking south on 23rd turning onto St James Street. Mr. Mason walked fast north on 23rd towards St James Street, and he turned and yelled for us to call 911 and said he was going to try to follow the guy because he had just dropped off a package in that area also.
After dialing 911 and reporting this, the operator asked me if I could still see the USPS driver at this time; I told her no. She told me as soon as I see him to tell him not to follow the man because he could be armed and Mr. Mason could possibly get hurt. While on the phone with 911, Mr. Mason came running back towards us west on Locust Street from 22nd. When he arrived, I explained what the 911 operator said about not engaging the man, then asked Mr. Mason if he wanted to speak with the operator. He said yes, so I handed him my cell phone.
After a couple minutes of him speaking with the 911 operator, Mr. Mason said he had forgotten his phone in his USPS truck. I told him that we could walk with him to his truck so he can continue speaking with the 911 operator on my cell phone. Mr. Mason hung up with the operator during the walk back towards his USPS truck and handed back my cell phone.
As we approached the USPS truck, Mr. Mason spotted the suspect again, near 23rd and Spruce. Mr. Mason ran back and got into his USPS truck and asked for me to call 911 again, then he drove off further South in order to follow the suspect.
I called back and said to another 911 operator that the suspect was now heading west on Spruce Street. As soon as I told the operator this, a police officer arrived in his car, jumped out and began chasing the suspect down Spruce Street. I told this to the operator and hung up.
While my friend and I were walking towards the police car to wait for the officer because we weren’t sure whether we had to make a statement, I saw the suspect appear across the street. He was walking slowly and casually at this moment, but he was sweating and breathing heavily. I did a double take, because I wasn’t expecting to see him, and when I looked back, he was out of sight.
My friend went to 23rd and Spruce Street trying to flag the officer down who had ran down the street, to let him know we saw the suspect. I walked back up the sidewalk to try and see where the suspect went to help point out his location to the officer. As I was walking past an alcove on 23rd between Spruce and Locust for Cypress Court Apartments, I saw the suspect sitting on a set of stairs.
I continued my way past the opening, then stopped and turned around. By this time, my friend and the officer was walking back up the sidewalk towards me, and I silently pointed towards the alcove where I saw the suspect sitting.
At this point, a second officer pulled up next to me, and I told the officer the suspect was in the alcove, sitting on stairs. The officers walked in, told the suspect to put his hands up, and arrested him.
While they were searching the suspect’s pockets, they pulled several items out, including condoms and a one day SEPTA Pass. I overheard the suspect telling the police that he did not do anything, then Mr. Mason said that he had seen him try to take the first package and even brought the package to show the officers. Mr. Mason also had a second package, a partially torn open box from when he initially followed the suspect down St James Street. I overheard one officer say that it was addressed to a doctor.
The police finally put the suspect in the back of one of the officer’s police car. I asked an officer if my friend and I needed to make a statement since we were the ones to call 911 and help the officers locate the suspect; he said no.
Linked above are several pictures of the items the police pulled out of the suspect’s pockets after putting him in handcuffs. The video above also shows the search of the suspect’s pockets.
We are reporting this because we feel the public needs to take notice that when they’re expecting mail or a package, to try to have it delivered somewhere secure, or be available upon arrival. Mr. Mason and another one of his co-workers who later arrived while the police were questioning the suspect, told us that there have been several thefts in the area over the past few weeks where some packages had been reported stolen after being delivered.
-Travis and Ryan
Media Source: https://goo.gl/photos/HEcq52dEgtctdJmx8