Six people were arrested Wednesday and accused of vandalizing two Pennsylvania State Police cruisers during the first day of protests in Center City over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
State police said the suspects were part of a large crowd that attacked the marked cars May 30 along Vine Street with a scooter, a hammer, skateboards, a bike lock, crowbars, and their hands and fists. Several personal items were stolen from inside the cars, investigators said.
Arrested were Luke Cossman, 20, and Steven Anderson, 20, both of Levittown; Sammy Rivera and Francisco A. Reyes of Philadelphia; William Besaw, 21, of Souderton; and a 17-year-old from Croydon whose name was not released.
Investigators released few details as to how they identified the males, who are charged with crimes including criminal mischief, institutional vandalism, criminal conspiracy, and disorderly conduct.. As of Wednesday evening, none of their names had appeared in city jail databases or in court records.
A spokesperson for the State Police barracks in Philadelphia did not return calls for comment. It was not immediately clear whether any of those charged had been arraigned or retained an attorney.
According to a news release, Cossman, Anderson, Rivera, and Reyes were taken into custody Wednesday morning while state police served search warrants on five locations — two in Philadelphia and three in Bucks County.
Besaw was already in the Bucks County jail on an unrelated disorderly conduct and harassment arrest from last month in Perkasie, according to court records. The 17-year-old was also in custody prior to Wednesday’s arrests.
Bucks County District Attorney Matthew P. Weintraub said his office assisted state police in obtaining arrest warrants and search warrants served Wednesday.
“I fully support peaceful protest,” he said in a statement. “But we will not tolerate lawlessness resulting in destruction of property, and theft from that property in any form.”
The new charges come six weeks after federal authorities charged a Germantown woman with setting fire to two Philadelphia police squad cars during demonstrations outside City Hall the same day. Because her alleged crime involves an accusation of arson, she was charged federally under statutes that carry a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in prison if she is convicted.