Police are tracking an armed crew - which Upper Darby's top cop called "urban street terrorists" - that has targeted three area Dunkin' Donuts locations in broad daylight.
One is the Dunkin' Donuts on West Chester Pike near Kirklyn Avenue in Upper Darby - robbed Friday afternoon - where Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood gets his daily java jolt.
In surveillance footage from the robbery that Chitwood released yesterday, a man shoves a gun in the manager's face, then hurdles over the front counter before his hooded accomplices join him.
"We gotta get these guys off the street. They're going to kill somebody," Chitwood said. "I cannot emphasize it enough, these guys are really, really dangerous."
The suspects are described as black males in their 20s with medium builds and heights. In one of the videos, the apparent leader was wearing a sweatshirt with the letters "CA" on the front.
"I thought maybe he was looking for a job," said the 24-year-old manager at the Upper Darby Dunkin' Donuts.
The manager, who asked that her name not be printed, said she feared for her life and has not recovered emotionally from the incident. One of the men struck her in the head with his gun as she was led to the safe.
"I cannot sleep a whole night, for three days," the manager said yesterday.
"You can see how violent the one guy was," Chitwood said, "pointing the gun, putting her on the ground. If she would have resisted, she was dead."
Philadelphia Police spokeswoman Officer Christine O'Brien said detectives are investigating two Dunkin' Donuts robberies in West Philly that they believe are linked to the Upper Darby case.
One occurred at 12:20 p.m. Oct. 10 on 63rd Street below Girard Avenue, and the other shortly before 1 p.m. Saturday on Chestnut Street near 55th, O'Brien said. The bandits made off with a total of $19,000.
"It's highly likely that they could be connected," O'Brien said of the three robberies. In each case, one man appears to serve as a lookout, she said.
Chitwood said the suspects also hit the 69th Street Pizza Hut on Thursday.
"If you stop and think, a year ago [Philadelphia Police Officer] Chuck Cassidy, walking into the Dunkin' Donuts, was shot and killed," Chitwood said.
Cassidy was shot in the head last Oct. 31, when he interrupted a robbery on Broad Street near 66th Avenue. He died the next day. That store was robbed again last month, but O'Brien said it does not appear to be related to the other recent cases.
"This Dunkin' Donuts, I go in there every day to have a cup of coffee early in the morning - every day. So anybody can walk in," Chitwood said of the Upper Darby location.
An elderly couple inside at the time was not harmed, he said.
"These guys are coming in and they're not playing around," Chitwood said. "These guys are street terrorists, plain and simple."
Police have not been able to determine the gunmen's identities from the surveillance tapes.
Tipsters can call Upper Darby Police at 610-734-7677, or Philadelphia Police at 215-686-TIPS.