In Philadelphia earlier this week, as many as 50 people shattered windows and car windshields, spray-painted structures and sidewalks, and ripped security cameras off buildings.
The damage from the night of rampaging on Monday: at least $100,000, police say. The vandals are believed to be part of an anarchist group called the “Summer of Rage,” according to the news release from police.
— Trang Do (@TrangDoCBS3) May 2, 2017
The vandalism happened in Kensington, targeting high-end cars and new buildings. The criminals spray-painted anarchist symbols on property and left behind a sign saying, “Gentrification is death. Revolt is life.”
Police arrested 45-year-old Geoffrey Suchocki and 28-year-old Patricia Monahan. Both face charges of causing and risking a catastrophe, criminal mischief, criminal conspiracy, and “related offenses,” the news release said.
In Suchocki’s backpack, officers found “a black scarf, a mask, a device used for shattering windows [and] a mission statement on how to disrupt capitalism,” the police department said.
Amberlynn Kabana, a building manager whose property was damaged, told the local NBC affiliate she believed the vandalism “was very intentional, very well aimed.” It targeted several properties owned by developers building in Kensington, she said.
“When you have 50 people coming down a block and their intention is to cause harm, their intention is to cause a message,” she told NBC10. “When they emptied their pockets there were dangerous weapons. They were caught with hammers. They were caught with very intimidating objects and their intention is to instill fear.”
Authorities are also investigating whether the same group of anarchists was behind a fire that occurred around 4 a.m. in the neighborhood of Point Breeze. It took 75 firefighters to put out the fire.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said arson destroyed four upscale row houses, and is offering a $10,000 reward for information about the blaze.
Ori Feibush, the property’s developer, has been accused of gentrification. In April, anonymously posted fliers popped up around the neighborhood urging people to “fight back” against Feibush’s company and claiming the developer was “displacing the BLACK and BROWN people in the POINT-BREEZE and surrounding communities,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Neighbor gave me this vid of fire @ 20th&Wharton in Point Breeze. 2 homes under construction destroyed 📹 Ryan Brown pic.twitter.com/3w8cqFLoM6
— Trang Do (@TrangDoCBS3) May 1, 2017
Feibush told public radio reporters that he believed the arsonists were “upwardly mobile white folks who grew up outside of the city” and who “believe that their way to promote their political persuasion is to stomp their feet and break things.”
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.