A recent rash of break-ins has runners, walkers and bikers at a popular Philadelphia park on edge.
According to investigators, thieves are hiding out in the woods of Wissahickon Valley Park, waiting to break into cars and steal valuables. Despite three recent arrests, investigators say the number of thefts is increasing.
One victim, Mary Pat Kessler, says she went for a run on Valley Green Road at the park early Saturday morning around 5:30 a.m. Kessler claims police discovered that thieves had broken into her car before she even got back.
“They broke the driver’s side glass,” Kessler said. “They ransacked my car. They stole my wallet. They’re lying wait in the woods behind us. They’re looking for runners, walkers, bikers and anyone that’s going to be leaving their car for a length of time, to do their exercise. And it’s very quick.”
On June 4, 14th District officers set up surveillance in the parking lot of the Valley Green Inn near the park. According to police, 32-year-old Aja Whetstone, 35-year-old Kisha Duncan, and Daniel Duncan arrived in the parking lot inside a beige 2007 Lincoln MKZ early that evening. The suspects allegedly took out a screw driver and pried the top of the driver side door of a parked car. They were then arrested by officers at the scene.
Investigators say the suspects likely targeted the same parking lot before and even used credit cards they had stolen from the cars.
More thefts occurred in the parking lot after their arrests, leading police to believe that the suspects were part of a larger ring that’s still operating.
Police warn those who run or walk at the park to lock up their cars, pull up their windows and hide their purses under the car seat.
Police say they are putting more uniformed and plain-clothes officers in the park in order to put an end to the break-ins.
If you have any information on the thefts, please call Philadelphia Police.