NORTHERN LIBERTIES (WTXF) - A lot of people in Northern Liberties woke up Tuesday to broken glass, cars smashed and buildings tagged -- at least tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Also, police have identified the two suspects they arrested so far.
Now, Philadelphia police are investigating those several dozen instances of property and car vandalism, and seeing if they’re connected to Monday morning’s townhome fires in Point Breeze, 16 hours earlier.
In Northern Liberties, a witness who is a building manager told police she saw 30 to 50 people dressed in all black with a banner reading “Gentrification is death. Revolt is life” did the damage shortly after dusk.
According to police, "The group is believed to be associated with the anarchist protesters, 'Summer of Rage.'"
It happened on the 1500 blocks of Palethorpe and Phillip streets -- both small streets on opposite sides of and parallel to 2nd -- and along 2nd and Jefferson streets. (Click picture for gallery.)
Police said more than 20 vehicles were damaged. Windshields and door glass were broken, and side-view mirrors were ripped off.
Also, at least ten rental properties were damaged with windows broken and security cameras ripped off.
Plus, the sides of some homes and cars were spray-painted.
Police say "two witnesses flagged down Highway Patrol Officers and provided them with a description on two of the suspects. Officers stopped the two individuals who were running southbound on the 1400 block of American Street; they were positively identified and arrested." FOX 29 News caught them in back of a squad car.
Police say they caught Geoffrey Suchocki, 45 from Doylestown, with a back pack containing a black scarf, a mask, a device used for shattering windows, and a mission statement on how to disrupt capitalism.
They also got Patricia Monahan, 28 from Rhawnhurst, with a mask wrapped around her neck.
Both are charged with causing and risking a catastrophe, criminal mischief, criminal conspiracy, and related offenses.
Police are searching for others who may have been involved.
Philadelphia Police Chief Insp. Scott Small told FOX 29's Steve Keeley Monday morning's fire and this vandalism are being treated as isolated incidents at this point -- but South Detectives are comparing information with East Detectives, since anger over gentrification in those neighborhoods may be the same motive.
Keeley also reports investigators from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives should be back at the fire scene, looking for signs of arson.
Some of the new homes and higher-end cars are as close as across the street from a trash-strewn lot with barbed wire and boarded-up buildings.
The thinking is, longtime neighbors are upset with gentrification because the new buildings are taller than theirs, and the owners get a ten-year tax abatement. Plus, since the renters often have roommates, they take up even more parking spaces.
Another fear is the new construction will lead to their own expenses going up, and possibly even pricing them out.