Violent robbery crew holding up city pharmacies

PHILADELPHIA. They’ve allegedly fired broad-daylight shots outside a Fairmount pharmacy, stuck a gun in a 6-month-old’s mouth during a Southwest Philadelphia home invasion and burned a man with a hot iron after stabbing him 26 times.

So, police now worry that a recent armed-robbery spree, mostly at mom-and-pop style pharmacies, could turn deadly.

The deadly rampage by a crew police believe to be three or four men started with a Nov. 2009 robbery on West Thompson Street; two .40-caliber weapons and a pistol-grip shotgun were stolen. A Water Department employee has since been shot, three homes invaded and five pharmacies robbed for cash and prescription medication. Bullets left behind were linked to the stolen arsenal.

“They’re calm, organized, but not afraid to shoot,” said Det. Joseph Murray of Southwest Detectives. “It’s like they’re saying, ‘We don’t have anything to worry about because we’ll just shoot you.’”

Police caught a break on May 11 when Emmanuel “Manny” Duran, from near 20th and Susquehanna streets, was arrested at a Bensalem motel with a stolen gun tied to the water-department shooting. Evidence ties the other incidents to the other stolen gun, Murray said.

The robberies haven’t stopped, though. A second Fairmount pharmacy was robbed with Duran in custody. He remains in Bucks County Jail on $3 million bail for weapons possession and Megan’s Law-related parole violation. “We thought we cut the head off, but that’s not the case,” Murray said.

Police are currently seeking suspects Raheem Brown and Joshua Hines on a warrant tied to a pharmacy-robbery. Murray said further charges are expected.

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