When a federal ex-convict on house arrest and his five gang-member cronies - who have 92 pages worth of rap sheets among them - allegedly kidnapped and tortured an Upper Darby man, township police knew just what to call their investigation:
"Operation: Can't Believe You're Still on the Street."
Today, three of those six men aren't on the street, and two others have warrants out for their arrests, thanks to a coordinated involving Upper Darby police, Philadelphia police and the FBI on Wednesday.
On May 9, six armed members of the Lansdowne Avenue gang kicked down the door to a house at Ruskin Lane near Millbank Road in Upper Darby, police said.
They pistol-whipped the lone, male resident whose identity is being withheld. The man was blindfolded and taken to a West Philadelphia home on Cedar Avenue near 51st Street, where he had been tortured with a Taser and beaten with guns, Michael Chitwood, Upper Darby Police superintendent, said.
The man was robbed of $2,200 but was freed after several hours, with the understanding that he was to set up one of his associates, a well-known drug dealer, for his kidnappers to rob. If he failed to do so, the kidnappers threatened to kill him and his family, court documents said.
While he was held captive, the man's home was ransacked and his floorboards were ripped up in the search for additional money or drugs, Chitwood said.
Once released, the victim contacted Upper Darby police, who, with the FBI and Philadelphia police, coordinated a setup with the group's alleged leader, Byron Cassidy, 21, of Wynnewood Road near Lansdowne Avenue, in Philadelphia.
Cassidy and two of his cohorts, Kaliff Wilson, 22, of Delancey Street near 57th, and Devon Skates, 23, of Master Street near Robinson, allegedly went back to the victim's house Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. under the assumption that the drug dealer, whom the victim was to set up, was inside.
"But the only people that were at that location were police," about 50 of them to be exact, Chitwood said.
The men attempted to flee the house but were met by police at each exit, Chitwood said. They eventually surrendered without incident. "They were trapped like rats in a maze," he said.
Police confiscated a flashy silver-and-gold .40-caliber Taurus handgun with 11 rounds of ammunition. Police traced the gun to a 35-year-old woman from Southwest Philadelphia, Chitwood said.
"If that ain't a straw purchase, my name ain't Mike Chitwood," he said.
Police were surprised to find Cassidy wearing some unusual jewelry - an ankle monitor that was supposed to keep him on house arrest while he served federal probation on a drug charge, Chitwood said.
"Obviously, somebody fell asleep at the wheel," he said.
Cassidy, Wilson and Skates are being held at the Delaware County Prison on numerous offenses ranging from kidnapping to robbery. Warrants have been issued for two other Philadelphia men, LaRue Shivers, 22, of Master Street near 61st, and David Kennedy, 21, of Media Street near Edgewood. Police said they know the identity of the sixth kidnapping suspect, but declined to release it. *