Grand theft auto reported on 17th Street

A student was robbed in his vehicle around 4 a.m. Saturday.

Temple Police responded to an armed robbery and theft of a student’s car that was reported on the 1800 block of North 17th Street, between Montgomery and Berks streets, around 4 a.m. Saturday.

The student reported that he was sitting in his car, a gray 2006 Saturn, when he was approached by three males, Charlie Leone, executive director of Campus Safety Services said in an email.

The three suspects told the student they were armed with a gun and told the student to get out of his vehicle, Leone said. No gun was shown.

Two of the suspects fled west on Monument Street, and the third suspect fled south on 17th Street, driving the student’s car. A cell phone was also inside the vehicle when it was taken.

The phone was last located in West Philadelphia through its tracker, and no injuries were reported.

A TU Alert was issued around 4:30 a.m.

Leone said Temple Police is looking at camera footage from the area, as well as following up with the Philadelphia Police Department’s Real Time Crime Unit and with Central Detectives.

Temple Police have increased a presence in the area, particularly during the overnight hours, Leone said.

Leone added that the incident is not believed to be premeditated.

“A gun was never shown and with two males running away on foot while the other drove the car, seemed impromptu,” he said. “This really seemed to me as a crime of opportunity.”

Leone also said there have been no similar incidents reported.

Frank Lane, who has lived on 17th and Fontain streets for five years, said he did not witness the crime itself. He added that he thinks the crime rate in the area is partly due to drug use and inebriation.

“I’m mad,” he said of the incident. “That’s our neighborhood. What were people doing out at 4 a.m. anyway? People should be home.”

Vincene Morris, a police sergeant for the Philadelphia Police Department, said alcohol is often a factor in crimes.

“On the weekends, a lot of students are inebriated so they lead themselves to become victims,” she said.

Morris added that alcohol inhibits people’s ability to make safe choices for themselves.

“I try to guide [the students] along – a lot of it is common sense,” she said. “A lot of them are overwhelmed with inner-city life. Eventually when they catch on, it’s time for them to graduate.”

Morris said she used to report to the 22nd district, but has since changed where she reports to and thus doesn’t hear immediately about crime in the neighborhood anymore.

“The police presence [in the area] is very high, but it can’t make up for common sense,” she said.

Lian Parsons can be reached at or on Twitter @Lian_Parsons.

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