After he robbed TSG Senator Kyle Goldstein and four others, 18-year-old Kadeem Cook took a photo of himself and his gun on a victim’s phone.
Police told Kyle Goldstein, a junior civil engineering major and TSG senator, in December that they believed they had the assailant from his Oct. 8 robbery in custody.
“I really had my doubts when police called,” he said.
But police didn’t catch 18-year-old Kadeem Cook, in custody for four robberies, including Goldstein’s. Cook turned himself in at the Northwest Detective Division on Dec. 3 after seeing a photo he took of himself with victim Dani Dickson’s cell phone that widely disseminated.
Dickson, a junior animation major at the Art Institute of Philadelphia, was walking home at 9:30 p.m. Oct. 7, a day before Goldstein was mugged, when Cook approached from the left rear, holding a gun to her neck demanding that she drop everything she had.
“I filed a report, and then a couple of days later, I saw that [Cook] took a picture of himself with his gun, and it was sent to my T-Mobile account online,” Dickson said.
Dickson set her phone to send pictures to her online T-Mobile account, so after Cook used her to phone to photograph himself holding his gun, she gave the photograph to police, and two months later, Cook turned himself in.
“I’ve never seen a case like this before, where the defendant is identified because he took a photo of himself with the victim’s phone,” Assistant District Attorney Andrew Notaristefano, the prosecutor on the case, said.
Goldstein identified Cook at a line-up in December. He walked in the room with another victim, an older woman also assailed by Cook, and was given instructions to remain still and calm so as to not influence the woman’s response.
“I was worried I wouldn’t recognize him,” Goldstein said, “and then I was really shocked to see him [in the line-up]. I was shocked beyond belief.”
Notaristefano said he thought Cook’s bail was set too low and fought for a high bail, considering the severity of the facts of the case, especially as they relate to Goldstein. In that attack, Cook hit Goldstein with the barrel of his gun then pushed him onto the train tracks at Fern Rock station.
Notaristefano said that Cook faces charges for all four robberies. Goldstein testified at the preliminary hearing for one of the two robbery charges for which Cook has been arraigned. The other two are still at the preliminary hearing stage. Dickson also testified at the preliminary hearing for Cook’s crime against her.
Notaristefano said that he tried to get Cook’s bail set to $100,000 per crime, but the judge settled on $50,000.
“It is a relief to know he’s behind bars and won’t be robbing anymore people,” Goldstein said. “As I witnessed at the police station, he continually robbed people around the same place for months.”
The female survivor at the line-up was robbed in a parking lot near Fern Rock station, and Dickson was robbed at 10th Street and Nedro Avenue near Olney Avenue, right next to the station.
“In SEPTA [stations], serial robberies happen every year,” Dickson said. “There are no safety precautions, no proper lighting, and it’s a growing problem.”
Josh Fernandez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.