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Wills Eye vandalized, suspect in custody

A trash can and other objects were thrown out of upper-floor windows at the Center City eye hospital.

Someone apparently wreaked havoc at Wills Eye Hospital overnight.

At about 2 a.m. Wednesday, a man tossed a trash can out of a ninth-floor window of the eye hospital, on Walnut Street near 9th in Center City, a Philadelphia Police spokeswoman said.

A security officer who was outside at the Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience building, across the street, saw the man after first hearing banging.

The security officer then saw the man throw other items out of other windows, all of which landed on the 800 block of Walnut Street, police said. Other security guards were called in to assist, and the offender was then arrested without incident on the ninth floor of the eye hospital.

Philadelphia Police officers from the 6th District, headquartered in Chinatown, also responded to the scene and spotted several broken windows and several items of furniture that had been thrown out of the windows.

The cops also noticed a pipe on the 14th floor that had been broken, causing flooding to lower floors, the police spokeswoman said.

No injuries were reported.

Police did not immediately release the identity of the suspect, only saying he is 30 years old.

Cathy Moss, manager of media relations at Wills Eye, said Wednesday: "This is an intruder who came in on the overnight hours. Fortunately, there were no injuries, and he was caught."

She said no one was working on the ninth floor at the time and no patients were on that floor.

The man also took a fire extinguisher and sprayed it in the hallway on a couple of floors, Moss said. "There was a little bit of damage" in the hospital, which is being cleaned up, she said.

Because of the flooding, which Moss described as "sporadic" and "minor," the elevators were not working in the hospital as of early afternoon Wednesday.

She said patients who had emergencies were seen Wednesday and those with non-emergencies were either seen in a different location in the hospital or had their appointments rescheduled.

"Our medical staff has been unbelievable," Moss said, adding: "Our top priority was having seamless care for our patients. Everybody worked together to care for patients and to deal with the situation. Thank God there were no injuries."

Moss said she had no information about the suspect's relationship to the hospital or about a possible motive for the vandalism.

Police did not release any information about a possible motive or about the suspect's relationship to the hospital.