The crack house in Clifton Heights where two men were arrested on Friday after repeated complaints from neighbors was prioritized by police in part because two young children lived there.
“The big concern was an 11-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy who were living in this, with all these dirtballs going in and out,” said Upper Darby Police Department Superintendent Michael Chitwood of the house on the 200 block of Westpark Lane that was searched Friday after repeated complaints by neighbors, leading to two arrests.
Chitwood said that the two children of the girlfriend of suspect Anthony Caserta were found in the home hiding inside a dark bedroom after police executed their warrant on Friday around 4:30 p.m.
Chitwood said when he asked the kids why they were hiding instead of playing outside, they said their mother had instructed them to stay in the bedroom whenever she was not present.
Caserta, 33, who was renting a room in the basement for $500 a month, and Edward Malm, 44, were both arrested on Friday.
Police watched the home for about a month and a half before executing the warrant, Chitwood said, following repeated calls and complaints from neighbors.
Probable cause for the warrant was based on the complaints of illegal activity, as well as on finding heroin bags and syringes outside the house.
The Upper Darby Department of Licenses & Inspection have since sealed the house, which belongs to Malm’s brother, and declared it unfit for human habitation, Chitwood said. The house was filled with garbage, debris, and dangling electric wires, he said.
Children and Youth Services of Delaware County had been notified of the children’s situation and are opening an investigation, Chitwood said.
The children were returned to their mother.