Philadelphia Cops Accused of Burglarizing Woman's Home: Sources

Five Philadelphia Police officers are being investigated for their role in an alleged illegal break-in

By Vince Lattanzio
|  Sunday, Oct 27, 2013  |  Updated 1:31 PM EDT
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A woman who says her home was broken into and burglarized by Philadelphia Police officers shows the damage that was done. NBC10's Nefertiti Jaquez has the details.

NBC10.com - Nefertiti Jaquez

A woman who says her home was broken into and burglarized by Philadelphia Police officers shows the damage that was done. NBC10's Nefertiti Jaquez has the details.

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Five Philadelphia Police officers are being investigated for allegedly breaking into a woman's home and stealing valuables from inside.

Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bethel confirms a police sergeant and four officers from the 24th District Narcotics Unit, known as the '5 Squad,' are under investigation by the Internal Affairs Division for the alleged crime.

Police sources tell NBC10's Harry Hairston the officers allegedly broke into India Torres' home along the 2900 block of Hurley Street in the Kensington section of the city on Wednesday night.

Witnesses say they watched officers push their way through a window to get into the home. The narcotics officers did not have a warrant, sources also say.

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Once inside, officers then swiped several belongings including a uniform for the Philadelphia Police Explorers program, according to sources. Torres says her 15-year-old daughter is part of the program.

Torres, who was not at home at the time of the raid, says she came home the next morning to find the house turned upside-down.

"When I came home, my windows were opened, my door, everything was trashed," Torres said. "My TV was flipped over, my clothing, they put a hole in my wall, they flipped my couches and they also took my daughters uniform."

Torres immediately went down to the 24th District to file a police report. While at the district headquarters, sources say, someone noticed the stolen uniform hanging around where the narcotics officers worked. The department's Internal Affairs Division was then contacted.

Investigators, upon arriving at the station on Thursday night, declared the district a crime scene and began searching for the belongings, sources say. Some of those missing belongings were eventually found inside the 24th District and were not recorded on an evidence inventory sheet.

Police also went to the woman's home and dusted for fingerprints along the windowsill where the officers allegedly gained entry.

"They think they can go in people's houses just cause they have authority. They can do whatever they want and think people like us don't know the law and don't know what we're doing. But I know the law," Torres said.

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Bethel said the officers have been pulled from the street and couldn't say whether they've been investigated in the past for any other complaints.

"The officers' status at this point is that they have been removed from duty, taken off the street, put in the office temporarily while the investigation unfolds," he said. "We take these complaints seriously. We address them and we will continue to move forward as an organization."

The deputy commissioner said the same unit made arrests on Hurley Street the night before the alleged burglary.

Torres admits her block is drug infested, but doesn't understand why they chose her home.

"Probably seen people on my steps, they assume things," she said. "Everything is not what they think."

As for Torres' daughter, she won't let this experience ruin her dream of becoming a Philadelphia Police officer.

"I really don't have much to say what they did. There's a corrupted cop, therefore we dealt with a corrupted cop," she said.

The Internal Affairs investigation is ongoing.

NBC10 Investigative Reporters Harry Hairston and Lu Ann Cahn contributed to this report.

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