OMC vandalized; Hill homes burglarized on same night

by Pete Mazzaccaro
Posted 10/7/20

Someone threw rocks through a stain-glass window at Our Mother of Consolation, 9 E. Chestnut Hill Ave., doing more than $19,000 in damage in the early morning hours of Wednesday, Sept. 30. On the …

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OMC vandalized; Hill homes burglarized on same night

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Someone threw rocks through a stain-glass window at Our Mother of Consolation, 9 E. Chestnut Hill Ave., doing more than $19,000 in damage in the early morning hours of Wednesday, Sept. 30. On the same night, a 20-year-old Philadelphia man was arrested for attempting to break into at least two W. Chestnut Hill Avenue homes. Police have not officially connected both crimes, but their proximity and other evidence suggest a connection.

A 20-year-old Germantown man, Darryl Vaughn, was arrested behind the home of Hill resident Brad Bank, 130 W. Chestnut Hill Ave., at approximately 1:20 a.m. Bank related waking up to the sound of someone in a loud conversation outside his home. He looked out to see someone trying to enter the home of a neighbor. Moments later, he heard his own doorbell ring.

He came downstairs to then hear someone violently jostling his doorknob. He turned on lights to alert whoever was on his front step that he was home, at which point he said he opened the door in time only to see only a shadow of someone fleeing.

Police had arrived by that time, Bank said, and he went out to tell them what had happened. The police had been called by his neighbors and told Bank to go back to his home while they interview his neighbors.

“So I walked down my driveway,” Bank said. “I get to the end of my driveway to come in the back door, and I see that my greenhouse lights are on, and there's a loud commotion in the greenhouse. So I know the guy’s there. I run back at the street, flag down the officers, and they, you know, they went into a full protective mode.”

Bank said the officers sprinted past him and returned with Vaughn, who had for some reason stripped to his underpants, in handcuffs. Bank said the officers believed Vaughn was on drugs at the time. Police Public Affairs told the Local they had no information on Vaughn’s condition at the time of his arrest.

Bank said he was impressed with both officers, who Philadelphia Police confirmed to the Local were 14th District Officers Camlin and Manzo. Bank said Vaughn told the officers he had been exposed to Covid. None of that changed the officers’ approach. They questioned Vaughn and placed him in their van. They had arrived on the scene within minutes and took decisive action, Bank said.

“I think they did everything by the book,” Bank guessed. “I think it went as well as anything like that could have.”

OMC Vandalized

During the same night, only 0.2 miles away – a five-minute walk – someone threw three rocks through a stain-glass window at Our Mother of Consolation Church, 9 E. Chestnut Hill Ave, doing approximately $19,000 of damage, and toppling a bunch of stone planters.

Father Bob Bazzoli, pastor of OMC, told the Local that he arrived at the church early Wednesday morning and first thought that wind had blown the planters over, but he soon realized something more had happened.

“We have a woman who opens up the church, and when I got in around five after six, she said, ‘Father look this place.’ There was glass all over the floor. We were looking around and saw the window had three rocks holes in it. So we called the police, and they sent detectives to investigate.”

Bazzoli said the detectives didn’t think anything about the vandalism was consistent with a hate crime but did tell him they suspected it was related to the Vaughn arrest. Bazzoli told the Local that the church did not have security cameras and so did not have any video or photographic evidence of the crime.

Bazzoli said he expected insurance to cover the cost to repair the window.

Bank told the Local that he recovered a bag that Vaughn had used and had stuffed with plants, seed and random garden tools from both his neighbor’s home and his greenhouse. The bag, Bank said, was an OMC school bag. It had a locked smart phone inside. Bank said he turned the bag and phone in to police.

On Monday, Oct. 5, Police told the Local that Vaughn had been charged with burglary, but not with anything related to the vandalism at OMC. It’s also possible that someone else was with Vaughn – Bank said he heard a loud conversation the morning Vaughn was arrested at his home.

Bazzoli said he had informed parishioners by email on Thursday of the vandalism and also said he was heartened by the quick response he received from other local congregations, including St. Pauls and St. Martin-in-the-Fields, which offered any help they could give.

“You know, I just think it's a real opportunity for us as this year as a neighborhood and church community to pull together and support each other through prayer and to, as much as possible, pray for the person who did it who is really struggling, ” Bazzoli said.

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