A Montgomery County teenager who had been missing since July was found dead at the end of October, and her adoptive mother is a person "of interest" in the homicide investigation. Authorities said the dismembered body of Grace Packer, who was 14 when she went missing from her Abington home, was found in a wooded area of Luzerne County. Her death was ruled a homicide. Her mother, Sara Packer, has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child and obstructing the administration of law. Read more
Local malls are courting last-minute shoppers, with several offering extended hours today. The majority will also stay open Saturday from early morning until 6 p.m. “Our goal throughout the entire holiday season is to make consumers’ shopping experience as seamless and convenient as possible, and this is especially true for any last-minute shoppers heading to the mall on Friday or Christmas Eve,” said Heather Crowell, spokeswoman and head of investor relations for PREIT, which owns the Cherry Hill, Exton and Moorestown malls. “This year is unique with Christmas Eve falling on a Saturday, when many shoppers are off from work." Read more
Investigators spent three years luring Karl Christian Loibenboeck, a suspected Namibian smuggler, to Philadelphia to make a rare arrest under a federal law banning trade in so-called conflict diamonds. But when he arrived last month, Loibenboeck ended up in custody for another crime altogether after authorities in South Africa say they found five fake diamonds in his underwear. He pleaded not guilty in federal court in Philadelphia on Thursday to one county of wire fraud, denying that he tried to pass off topaz stones as 100 carats of diamonds. Read more
This holiday season has been one for the record books for carriers like FedEx and UPS, as more consumers have been ordering gifts online. But this holiday as also been the most demanding for the companies' workers, and sites like Yelp are filled with customer complaints about delivery times and service. "Fed Ex drivers try their best not to deliver package," Jack O. from Philadelphia posted on Yelp. "No one rings door bell. No knock on door. A missed info notice with the tracking number. Constant ongoing problem." Read more
Get used to those concrete barriers lining Market Street in Center City. For the next 12 to 18 months, the barricades will create a pedestrian walkway as crews start demolishing parts of the old Gallery shopping center. They are set to line Market and Filbert Streets, between 8th and 11th Streets, as well as 8th, 9th and 10th Streets and part of 11th Street. "The request was for permits to close off portions of the roadway in order to allow this work to continue," said Pat O'Donnell of the city’s Streets Department. "The original request was full sidewalk closure, but with this location there was no way we were going to approve that." Read more