A former Drexel University student is in custody after he allegedly dealt drugs and then set up his customers to be robbed.
Police say 20-year-old Daniel Paitnitsky of North Jersey was enrolled at Drexel until 2011. While living off campus at Powelton Village, Paitnitsky allegedly sold around 20 pounds of marijuana each week. Police say he was a high-level dealer who sold drugs to students from several schools who then circulated it on various campuses.
“It looks like they were buying anywhere from one to five pounds at a time and going back to their areas where they were from, repackaging smaller quantities,” said Philadelphia Police Lieutenant John Walker.
Investigators say Paitnitsky eventually turned on his own customers however and enlisted a neighborhood robber’s help.
As Paitnitsky’s customers came to his house with hundreds of dollars in hand to buy drugs, Paitnitsky allegedly would tip off 42-year-old Melvin Lewis who would jump the customers and steal their money. Paitnitsky and the robber would then split the stolen cash, according to investigators.
“People get greedy and that’s how you get caught,” Lieutenant Walker said. “This kid clearly got greedy.”
A 21-year-old former Drexel student who did not want to be identified says he was one of Paitnitsky’s victims.
“I was just up in my friend’s apartment,” he said. “All of a sudden a large individual came up the stairs and brandished a weapon, grabbed a whole bunch of stuff and ran.”
The former student says he managed to get a description of the robber’s getaway car which led police to the suspect. Police then set up a sting operation to bust Paitnitsky. He was arrested on Monday and charged with robbery, possession with intent to distribute and other related offenses. Lewis was also arrested and charged with robbery.