Alleged Center City bank robber arrested

* Market Street near 16th, Center City

A Hunting Park man was arrested Tuesday morning for allegedly robbing a Republic Bank branch in Center City.

Christian Stephens, 30, allegedly robbed the bank on Market Street near 16th about 11:35 a.m. and dropped an undisclosed sum of money on the sidewalk. Police said that a bank teller slid Stephens a dye pack along with the money and it exploded when he stepped outside the bank.

He fled the bank and was arrested on 18th Street near Callowhill, police said.

Stephens, of Darien Street near Cayuga, faces charges of robbery and additional offenses.

Montco man held in child rape

* Penn Street near Chestnut,


Police in Lansdale arrested a 22-year-old man for allegedly raping a 12-year-old girl after sexually explicit Facebook interactions between them sparked an investigation in January, authorities announced Tuesday.

Through a forensic interview, police said, they learned that the man arrested, Lafonsa Perry, provided the girl with marijuana in his bedroom and had sex with her.

When cops searched Perry's Lansdale home on Monday, they found marijuana, a digital scale and other drug paraphernalia.

He was arrested on the spot and charged with rape of a child, statutory sexual assault, indecent assault, corruption of minors, unlawful contact with a minor and drug possession, police said.

He was being held at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility on $50,000 cash bail. He faces a preliminary hearing on May 3.

In other news:

In the wake of several robberies and homicides committed by criminals disguised in burqas - including a series of bank heists and the slaying of an Upper Darby barbershop owner last week - City Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. and District Attorney Seth Williams on Tuesday announced a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of anyone who commits a violent crime while dressed in the garb.

"I have a message for all the violent criminals in the city," Williams said in a statement. "You can't hide. We will find you, and when we do, you'll go to jail for a long time."

On April 13, a man dressed in a black burqa robbed a Wells Fargo branch at Adams Avenue and Tabor Road in Olney, cops said. Earlier in the month, the same bank was hit by a man in similar garb, and since December, banks across the city, including in East Oak Lane, Mayfair and East Mount Airy, have been hit by burqa-clad bandits.

The $20,000 reward, also backed by Muslim leaders from the region, was announced at a news conference at City Hall Tuesday morning.

- Morgan Zalot, Phillip Lucas

and staff reports