Video: unidentified man breaks into Rhawnhurst mosque twice

The burglar stole cash from a donation box on July 12, then returned for more five days later.

Surveillance photo

An unidentified burglar with a penchant for shiny jewelry, fresh sneakers and a BMX-style bicycle broke into a Rhawnhurst mosque twice five days apart earlier this month. In one instance, he escaped with a fistful of cash, but he left behind some sharp surveillance video.

Police released video from both break-ins on Thursday. The incidents occurred on July 12 and 17 at the Islamic Society of Greater Philadelphia, 7252 Roosevelt Blvd.

The first instance occurred shortly before 11 p.m. when the crook used a tool to pry open the glass double doors at the rear of the worship site. Once inside, he moved directly to an adjoining room with two donation boxes affixed to the walls, as if he knew the place well. One by one, he pulled open the the locked boxes and grabbed what appeared to be a small amount of cash, stuffing the paper money into his pockets. He didn’t bother with loose change that fell to the floor. Police didn’t disclose the value of the theft.

“He looked like he knew where he was going. He went straight for the donation box,” said Lt. Dennis Rosenbaum of Northeast Detectives.

The suspect arrived and fled on a small bicycle. He is black and thin, about 6 feet tall and probably in his 20s or 30s. He wore what appeared to be a dark blue collared shirt and matching shorts with a light blue cap and clean white Nike Air Max sneakers. He also had a metal bracelet or watch on his right wrist.

Five days later, he arrived shortly before 9 a.m. and again pried open the exterior doors. Rosenbaum said the mosque had removed the donation boxes after the previous break-in, so the crook tried to use a pair of scissors to open a safe on the floor. Failing, the burglar took a drink of water from a cooler near the door before he fled empty handed.

He wore a white t-shirt, gray pants and black Adidas sneakers, as well as a black cap with the Puma logo and what appeared to be the same bracelet or watch.

A member of the congregation told police he may have seen the burglar praying inside the mosque once, but the member doesn’t know the suspect’s name. Call 215–686-TIPS or text to PPD TIP to report information. ••