Hold your fire . . . seriously

Philadelphia police and District Attorney Lynne Abraham are warning partygoers not to fire weapons into the air when they ring in the new year later tonight.

Police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore said that cops responded to about 240 9-1-1 calls about guns being fired across the city on New Year's Eve last year. Several people were shot, and 18 arrests of revelers were made, Vanore said.

Abraham is expected to address the issue at a news conference today.

Serial bank robber wanted

Police and the FBI are searching for a serial bank robber whom the FBI has dubbed the "Northeast Hood Bandit" because he strikes in the Northeast and wears a hooded sweatshirt.

The robber, a white man in his 20s, is believed responsible for these heists: Dec. 3, TD Bank, 2520 Grant Ave.; Dec. 5, Citizens Bank, 2014 Cottman Ave.; Dec. 12, Citizens Bank, 2910 Cottman Ave.; and Dec. 28, Citizens Bank, 9218 Cottman Ave. In each case, he presented a demand note to a teller and fled with an undisclosed sum of cash.

Anyone with information about the robberies should call the FBI at 215-418-4000.

2 stabbed in West Oak Lane

Two men in their 20s are hospitalized at Albert Einstein Medical Center after being stabbed in West Oak Lane about 8 last night, police said. An arrest has been made in the assault in which a 27-year-old man, in stable condition, was stabbed in the right thigh and groin, and a 21-year-old man, who is listed in critical condition, was stabbed in the stomach, police said. Police haven't disclosed a motive for the attack.

Airport not as annoying

A lot more passengers using Philadelphia International Airport can now spend less time in security lines since the new Terminal D/E Connector has opened on the second-floor departures level.

Travelers using Terminals D and E, which account for a quarter of the airport's passengers, will pass through a newly combined 14-lane security checkpoint to reach departure gates, thus minimizing long lines and shot nerves.

The constant constable?

Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ronald Castille said that he is considering whether to impose uniform standards to improve the state's troubled constable system.

Castille said that he has directed the court's Minor Court Rules Committee to study a handbook for constables that is in use in Chester County to see if it can be adopted statewide. A recent series by the Associated Press found numerous cases of serious misconduct by constables over the past decade. *

- Staff and wire reports