Girls charged in armed holdups; anonymous donors give $2G to victims

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Two Philadelphia girls, ages 16 and 17, have been charged as adults in the gunpoint robberies of two cabdrivers and two Ecuadoran tourists in Upper Darby last month. Police said the teenagers also are suspected in two armed holdups of pizza delivery drivers in Philadelphia.

“They committed some very heinous, nasty crimes,” Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said. “You could write a book about these two.”

But for readers who prefer happy news, this story has that as well. Moved by reports of the robberies last week, two Good Samaritans stepped forward — separately — to donate $1,000 each to the Ecuadoran women, ages 86 and 52, who allegedly were victimized by the teens while visiting relatives in the area, Chitwood said.

“Two community residents who wanted to remain anonymous came into my office and gave me $1,000 each to give to the women. They felt bad [that] people would come here from another country and be victims of a robbery,” Chitwood said. “The women were absolutely thrilled. They hugged the detective who delivered it to them and couldn’t thank him enough. The 86-year-old started crying.”

The suspects, identified by Chitwood as Kemonie McKee, 16, and Syniah Martinez, 17, are accused of robbing the drivers of two cabs at gunpoint June 19 in Upper Darby. Police said the teens got away with $100 from one of the drivers and $80 from the other. In police interviews, the teens said the weapon shown during the robberies was a BB gun, Chitwood said, adding that no weapon had been recovered.

On the morning of June 23, the girls robbed the tourists from Ecuador at gunpoint as they exited a home on the unit block of Kent Road in Upper Darby, taking a purse that contained $700 in cash from the 86-year-old and a handbag that contained $200 and a cellphone from the 52-year-old, Chitwood said. During the robbery, one teen hit the 86-year-old in the arm with her gun and the other punched the 52-year-old in the chest, according to police.

McKee turned herself in to police with her mother on Sunday, Chitwood said. She was charged with aggravated assault and related offenses in all three cases and was being held on $500,000 bail, according to police. Martinez was arrested Tuesday night at 51st and Spruce Streets in West Philadelphia and faces similar charges for those three cases and charges for a purse-snatching to which she admitted while in custody, Chitwood said.

Both girls also admitted to carjacking robberies of two Domino’s Pizza delivery drivers in Philadelphia in the same week as the Upper Darby robberies, Chitwood said. A Philadelphia police spokesman said the teens were suspects in those robberies but had not yet been charged.

Chitwood credited the teens’ arrests to a “great collaboration” between Philadelphia and Upper Darby police. He said the investigation was continuing as police searched for an adult male who they believe masterminded the robberies and may have served as the getaway driver.

“These are kids committing adult crimes,” Chitwood said. “There’s got to be somebody leading them around.”

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