The 7th Police District Advisory Council honored Sharon Echevarria and Joseph Staszak as Officers of the Month.
An 89-year-old woman was knocked down from behind as she exited the Acme market at 8200 Roosevelt Blvd. on Oct. 23.
While on the ground, unknown persons stole her purse, which contained $400, her identification and credit cards. The next day, Echevarria and Staszak went to the Acme to obtain surveillance video hoping to identify the perpetrators.
The video system, though, was experiencing technical difficulties. Echevarria and Staszak scheduled a home visit with the victim. During the visit, the officers learned the victim’s credit cards had been used multiple times at multiple locations since the purse snatch occurred.
Echevarria and Staszak spent hours on the telephone with the victim’s credit card companies, tracking down each transaction and each location where her cards were used.
Echevarria and Staszak spent hours at each of the locations, sharing the specific transaction amounts with store employees, who were able to pinpoint the transaction times. The investigation revealed the same unknown man and woman on the videos. The images were distributed to all Northeast Division personnel.
The following week, 8th Police District plainclothes officers spotted the woman and man depicted in the videos walking on the 8300 block of Bustleton Ave.
Both were arrested and taken to Northeast Detectives. Detectives served a search warrant on the woman’s home, where they found the 89-year old victim’s purse and credit cards.
Later, the 7th District was contacted by the East Pikeland Township Police Department, which advised that it saw a pattern of thefts from auto involving stolen purses containing credit cards and checkbooks. East Pikeland PD recovered multiple videos of an unknown woman committing thefts from autos and subsequent frauds inside of various stores, using many different victims’ credit cards, and also inside of various banks, cashing checks from the victims’ stolen checkbooks. The department submitted the images of the woman to Philadelphia police.
The suspect was identified as the woman arrested by Echevarria and Staszak.
Both defendants were charged with Robbery, Access Device Fraud, Criminal Conspiracy, Theft by Unlawful Taking and Disposition, Theft, Receiving Stolen Property and related offenses.
Further investigation revealed that the couple was part of a ring of thieves working from Florida to Pennsylvania that has brought the Pennsylvania State Police and the FBI into the investigation
“Had it not been for the diligent work of Officers Echevarria and Staszak as well as their relentless follow-up, the female, who had no criminal record prior to this, may not have been identified nor charged with this crime,” said Capt. Robert Ritchie, commander of the 7th District. “Having her arrested and charged with this crime led to her identification for multiple counts of theft from auto, fraud and cashing bad checks for the East Pikeland Township Police Department.
“For this highly intelligent and valuable act of police service, which demonstrated special initiative and perseverance in the performance of their police duties, we are proud to recognize Officers Echevarria and Staszak as Police Officers of the Month for November 2018,” Ritchie said.
Meanwhile, the 7th PDAC is seeking donations for its Police Officers Appreciation Dinner.
The 14th annual dinner, an all-day event serving a buffet dinner to all shifts of 7th District police officers, is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 22.
PDAC is seeking donations of gift cards or certificates, services (such as a free haircut), a free meal (a pizza or dinner for two), tokens of appreciation (wrist watch or DVD), cash or a check.
The Employer Identification Number is 23-2820312.
Donations can be mailed to 7th Police District Advisory Council, Police Appreciation Dinner, 7th Police District Headquarters, 9845 Bustleton Ave. – STE 4, Philadelphia, PA 19115-2694.
All checks should be made payable to “7th Police District Advisory Council.” Donors’ names will appear on a list of sponsors that will be posted.
To use a credit card to make a financial contribution, use PayPal by going to 7thPDAC.com
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org ••