Duo arrested after van full of explosives found, at least 30 ATMS blown up in riots: ‘Weapons of mass destruction’

Share:

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Two people have been arrested and are facing serious charges after police say they found a van full of illegal explosives.

They were found in a along the Ben Franklin Parkway on Wednesday night, according to Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

Police said the investigation began earlier in the night when officers responded to a commercial burglary alarm and observed 10 to 15 staged vehicles in the City Avenue Marriott parking lot.

They said they watched some of the vehicles suspiciously leaving the parking lot, and that those vehicles later unsuccessfully tried to ram the Target located on Monument Road in the city’s Wynnefield Heights section.

From there, police followed a van that left the area and proceeded onto I-76 and later onto the Ben Franklin Parkway in the heart of Philadelphia.

Inside the vehicle was a disturbing discovery.  They found a quarter or half sticks of dynamite, a handheld propane tank torch, a taser and various tools including electric drills, bolt cutters, and machetes.

They now said those explosives were used to dismantle and steal proceeds from ATMs – and that at least 30 ATM explosions have been reported since Monday night’s unrest.

According to the attorney general, the van driver, Brian Larue, and passenger, Eric Murray, are both facing charges of possession of weapons of mass destruction, conspiracy, and risking a catastrophe, along with several misdemeanor charges.

“These individuals who have been charged today tried to use a message of justice to provide cover for their own gain,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “This is an incredibly challenging time for communities in Philadelphia, across Southeast Pennsylvania, and around the country. We will not allow criminals to hijack, and take advantage of, lawful protests as an opportunity to sow chaos.”

The City of Brotherly love, better known as Philadelphia, has seen consecutive nights of rioting and unrest since the police shot and killed a black man threatening officers with a knife.  Police say members of the so-called peaceful protest have begun blowing up ATMs in an apparent attempt to steal money – at this point it’s unclear if the duo above is responsible for just some or all of the explosions.

One of the earlier incidents occurred on October 26th at Dalessandro’s Steaks on the 600 block of Wendover Street.  Police reported that unknown persons used some type of explosive device to damage the ATM in apparent hopes of getting the cash that was stored inside. 

Resident Kristen Mckernan said:

“The loud boom woke me up.”

The ATM was heavily damaged in the explosion, but it is unknown how much cash, if any, was taken.  Police received another call of an explosion to an ATM machine just after one o’clock in the morning, on the 4200 block of Baltimore Avenue.

When officers arrived on scene, they noted the machine had exploded due to whatever explosive devices were used.  Again, there was no report if any money was taken during the incident.

In all, there were at least 30 ATMs that people had used explosive devices on, in order to steal the cash that was inside of them. 

While there are no reports of the exact amount of cash, if any, that was stolen as a result, one chain, the Fresh Grocer, has decided that they can no longer afford to have their ATMs in their stores due to the looting, and they are now removing all of them from Philadelphia.

Resident Rene Brown, disgusted by the actions of the looters, said:

“It’s pathetic. It’s pathetic it really is. This is unbelievable. It’s unbelievable.”

All of the looting is supposedly a result of the police involved shooting of Walter Wallace, Jr. 

Wallace was seen on video chasing after Philadelphia Police officers, who were trying to escape him, while he was armed with a knife.

Wallace refused several lawful orders to drop the knife he was carrying and kept advancing on officers, forcing them into a position that they seemingly felt their lives, or someone else’s were in danger, and opened fire. 

The officers fired 14 times, striking and killing Wallace in the middle of the street.  Of course, the officers appeared to be white and Wallace was black, so, somehow, the officers must have been racist in their attack according to protesters.

In recently uncovered documents related to the deceased 27-year-old Wallace’s criminal history, we’re now able to get a better understanding that Wallace had a pattern of violent behavior against others.

Apparently Wallace was an “aspiring rapper” that wrote songs related to such wonderful subjects as shooting people – including police officers. 

Now, while music that glorifies or mentions violent acts doesn’t always translate to the artists committing violent acts, it’s certainly worthy of speculation when an artist is a violent individual that produces music that’s allegorical of their criminal and violent exploits.

Back in 2017, Wallace reportedly pleaded guilty to robbery, assault and possessing an instrument of crime.

In that case specifically, authorities say that Wallace kicked in a woman’s front door and placed a gun to her head. This may come as a shock, but Wallace was only sentenced to 11 to 23 months in prison for that crime.

Keep in mind, Wallace could have been sentenced to up to five years for just the instrument of a crime charge.

And police had reportedly been called out to the home where Wallace stayed numerous times since May of this year – roughly 31 calls according to sources.

Not to mention, his own mother placed a protective order against Wallace in 2013 which he wound up violating when he “threw water in her face and punched her in the face” and “threatened to return and shoot” his own mother.

In 2019, Wallace was charged with resisting arrest when he was allegedly trying to kick out the windows and door panels of a police car. And just in March of this year, he was arrested for allegedly threatening the mother of his children over the phone saying:

“I’ll shoot you and that house up.”

 Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw recently commented on the case, noting that there’s questions on whether the responding officers knew who they were responding to when called to the address the day of the fatal shooting:

“There are several questions that need to be answered… including what the officers knew when they responded, what was put out by radio and how any previous contact with Mr. Wallace factored into [the October 26th shooting].”

Wallace’s cousin, Anthony Fitzhugh, is pointing to Wallace having “mental health issues” being one of the possible reasons he may have responded violently toward authorities prior to being shot:

“They were advised that he had mental health issues. I understand he had a knife, and their job is to protect and serve. By all means do so, but do not let lethal force be the means by which you de-escalate the situation. You could have still kept your gun drawn while another officer tased him.”

Except, the officers dispatched didn’t have tasers.  And that situation is about to get worse:

PHILADELPHIA, PA – In an unsurprising move in Philadelphia, the City Council has officially handcuffed the Philadelphia Police Department in responding to riots and unruly protests on October 29th when they banned the use of less lethal munitions. 

The only thing that could possibly stop this move would be if the democratic Mayor would be to veto it, which is highly unlikely.

Council Members felt that the move was necessary after the riots and civil unrest that occurred after the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The incident that sparked the debated occurred on June 1st when riots, attacks on police, and numerous people shut down a major interstate in the area. 

City Councilmember Helen Gym, who sponsored the bill, said:

“We are answering the calls of our constituents.  This is a moment when repairing trust between our residents, public officials, and police is essential.  Residential neighborhoods are not warzones. 

“Demonstrators are not enemy combatants.  This is a first step in working with our communities to build a new model for public safety that is driven by their needs and their vision for the future.”

Democratic leaders hailed the move as well as numerous residents.  However, people like Roosevelt Poplar, the Vice President for the FOP, warned that passage of this bill could mean more lethal encounters between police and protesters.  He said:

“So, basically, you’re taking away non-lethal munitions and you’re leaving them [police] with only one tool, and that’s a deadly weapon tool, which is a gun.”

Proponents of this bill refer to the times police in Seattle, Washington, Portland, Oregon, and in Philadelphia have used them as during times of ‘peaceful protests.’ 

However, a peaceful protest, which happen throughout the United States with no issues, are when the law-abiding citizens, upset with whatever action or inaction has occurred, peacefully assemble. 

Peaceful protesters do not shut down major roadways which are not only used by people going to and from work, they are also used by first responders, police, fire, and medical personnel.  Peaceful protesters do not start throwing rocks and other implements at officers in order to harm them.

Peaceful protesters do not start destroying or defacing buildings.  They do not start breaking into locally owned stores and steal everything that is not bolted onto the floor.  They do not start shooting at each other.  They are, by definition, peaceful. 

Law Enforcement Today challenges you to find one instance in the last twenty years in which any law enforcement agency in the United States has used any form of force on those people who are peacefully assembling.  One instance where officers arrest anyone for standing on a sidewalk protesting, just one.

If you do not want to do your own research, we will give you the answer, there is not one example in the last twenty years where any member of law enforcement, federal, state, local, has used any type of force on a group of people that are truly peacefully protesting. 

The only times force has been used has been when the group of people begin taking criminal actions, like looting, arson, attacking officers, etc.  When the groups of people do that, they are no longer ‘exercising their constitutional rights,’ they are criminals who are rioting.

Now, with the passage of this ban in council, and the eventual signing into law by the democratic mayor of the city, the men and women of the Philadelphia Police Department will face only two options when it comes to civil disobedience in any form. 

Intercede and risk a deadly force situation since officers no longer have less lethal munitions or allow the rioters to do as they will, until they decide to go home for the night.  How much of the city do you think will be left when, not if, the police take no action?

The question becomes, how long will the law abiding citizens of Philadelphia be satisfied and feel safe when the officers no longer step in? 

Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today?  With so much “stuff” happening in the world on social media, it’s easy for things to get lost.  

Make sure you click “following” and then click “see first” so you don’t miss a thing!  (See image below.)  Thanks for being a part of the LET family!
 
Facebook Follow First
Share:
Related Posts