Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Home Invasion – Robbery – Kidnapping in Berwyn

Police Superintendent Tony Giaimo sent the following press release concerning last night’s home invasion in Berwyn Please read and if you have any information about the crime, you are asked to contact the police department. Fortunately, the owners were not hurt but how scary – I cannot imagine!




On Thursday, January 31st, 2013 at 8:28 PM., Tredyffrin Twp. Police officers responded to a “911” call on the 200 block of Wooded Way, in the Berwyn section of Tredyffrin , for a reported home invasion robbery and kidnapping.

Information received by police was that a local resident, who had returned from work at approximately 7 PM, was accosted by three or four black male (masked) subjects armed with handguns who forced themselves into his home. Once inside, the actors bound both victims (husband and wife) and ransacked the home. The actors then took the male victim (in the victim’s white Volkswagen Passatt bearing PA registration plate DJM0696) to the jewelry store (Shuler’s Jewelers) owned by the victims in East Norriton, Montgomery Co. The additional actors were believed to have followed the victim’s vehicle back to the jewelry store. The suspect vehicle is believed to be a silver or blue sedan – possibly a Chrysler product. No physical injuries were sustained by the two victims. The investigation is continuing with the assistance of the East Norriton Twp. (Montgomery County) Police Department and the Chester County Detectives.

Superintendent of Police Anthony Giaimo commended the quick actions of all responding patrol officers and detectives. Giaimo noted, “We will aggressively pursue this case in conjunction with other partner law enforcement agencies to bring these criminals to justice.”

The public’s assistance is requested in locating the white VW Passatt sedan bearing PA registration DJM0696. Anyone with information relative to this case is asked to contact the Tredyffrin Twp. Police Department at 610-647-1440.

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  1. Cannot imagine how awful that must have been for the victims. Kudos to Superintendent Giaimo and the TT Police and detectives for their quick response. Hopefully they (along with the public) can make progress to find justice. Just when you think these types of crimes won’t find their way to your doorstep – they manage to find access. Scary!

  2. Is it true the Board of Supervisors still haven’t hired the suggested # of officers from that overly expensive $50,000 consultant study.

    With crimes like this in our back yard it’s time to be over staffed not under.

  3. Pattye:

    Thanks it would be important to know isn’t arbitration over?
    What is the hold up if they haven’t been hired.
    Even with the suggestion with things like this going on and all the promise of more police around the schools I wish the Board of Supervisors had a larger concern for our safety.

  4. Kudos to Laurie Elliott who attends nearly every BOS meeting and raises relevant questions. At the last meeting she requested an update on the hiring of TT police. The response was that a financial analysis of the arbitration decision in conjunction with the police study was underway to determine the timeline of police hiring. (We had previously been promised the results of this analysis at either this BOS meeting or the next.)

    Supervisor Kichline added that the 2 authors of the police study will be (physically) at the next BOS meeting to answer questions from the BOS and public.
    Anyone interested should attend the next BOS meeting (Mon. Feb 11) and ask questions.

    1. Thank you for this information re the consultants. If the police student consultants are going to be at the next BOS meeting, this is a must attend meeting. As far as I could tell, their $50K report was a ‘cut and paste’ boilerplate — I’ll be curious to hear how they respond to questions from the supervisors and the public. I know where I will be on Monday, February 11th :)

  5. Let me say that while it never hurts to have more police on patrol to act as a general deterrent, one thing you can be sure of if you are specifically targeted for a crime – the police will not be there to protect you.

    Criminals make sure they commit their crimes when the police are not around, and they make sure you will not be able to contact the police.

    This is not a knock on the police as they can’t be everywhere at once.

    Just don’t think you personally will be any safer with a few more cops on patrol.

    The best way to not be a victim of a crime is to take measures that do not make you an easy target.

    Rather than get into all that, if you want to know how best to lower your odds of being a crime victim, call your local police and ask. Have them come out to your home where they can give suggestions to make a criminal not want to target you at home and also ask them how best to not be a victim while out in public.

    As for this particular crime, this was targeted and planned against a small business owner. The only thing that may have helped is to have been vigilant some individuals may have had you under surveillance at your home and business to tip you off.

    Always good to call the cops if you see a suspicious vehicle in your neighborhood – one where someone is just driving up and down the street or sitting their with the driver doing nothing.

    Ultimately the cops can’t protect you if a criminal targets you. You are responsible for your own safety.

    There job is to act as a general deterrent and to track down and arrest criminals after they commit their crimes.

  6. Obviously the police can’t be everywhere and if you are a target and being watched or followed.

    My point is we have had two home invasions here in T/E
    our tax $ was spent to ‘hire’ a consultant that seemingly goes around and says the same stuff in any town USA that is similar.

    Arbitration took forever and was costly the least the township can do is start to hire the minimum #.
    In addition to the home invasions we had the CT shooting and the school district promised more police patrol.

    Not sure how we can make promises to the public & spend our tax money. If our force is stretched thin.

    I realize the police can’t be everywhere but if they are busy fighting heavy crimes such as this recent one. Not to mention the things we expect of them, we should hire what was mentioned at the very least.

    1. There are several issues here.

      1. We need a government that stops with the political BS. We need a government that simply levels with the public. All we really have today is a lot of posturing and nonsense wthout much in the way of progress. Take the new township website for example. It cost approximately $50K. It’s not better than the old site. Think about that. This township would rather waste money on a new inferior website than invest in other things that are more important.

      2. Even if we had 10 more officers, what happened in the Schuler’s case would still have happened. They were targeted. Somebody else made the point that those kinds of issues would still happen. Fortunately, they were not hurt physcially. Mentally I’m sure is another matter. The key is how well the investigation goes. That’s the real key here. Does our police have the right tools for that work? I don’t know.

      This place is on a quick trajectory to the bottom. Not because of this particular crime. This type of crime can happen anywhere. For some, there is a continuing delusion that Tredyffrin is some idyliic place in the country. We are more urban than sub-urbran. Our Zoning is out of date. Companies looking for a bargain will come here. Companies looking to advance to that next level are leaving. The priorities relating to our schools is completely whacked. We are cool with hiring a disgraced former TTPD chief but we don’t let our kids get their textbooks on Kindle, iPad or Tablet. For the municipal government, they throw money away on BS consulting studies and crap website. What they don’t do is deal with stormwater and the plight of people that have to deal with bad zoning decisions. They will move heaven and earth if you are a political friend but if you are just an average citizen who wants to put up a fence, they beat the crap out of you on regulation. Here, sidewalks are evil. In other places, sidewalks are welcome. Shire pointed out that one of it’s complaints with Tredyffrin is the lack of walkability. We all know why sidewalks have not gotten a fair shake here. Look at the BoS. Even they have to admit that things on Upper Gulph Road are better now. It’s safer for people to walk. And yes, it looks nicer. It looks welcoming. Maybe that is just a bleeding heart liberal tax and spender talking.

      For those of you who have lived here for 20+ years, can you honestly say this place is better today? Places like Wayne, Bryn Mawr, Ardmore, Narberth, etc, while they have their issues, they did manage to progress with the times. Even Malvern has managed to progress. In all of those places, we can all afix some geographical place that is part of those locales. Not so here. In that regard, Tredyffrin is really no better than Upper Merion.

      Please keep that context in mind when looking at this particular crime. As bad as that crime was, it could have happened anywhere. If that crime had not occurred, the reality is that there is a lot that is wrong with this place and if something doesn’t change soon, it may be too late. Sorry to be such a downer, but if you look honestly at the situation, you may agree.

    2. CR:

      I’m not disagreeing with hiring more cops if that is what is needed.

      My point was not to let it lull you into a false sense of security.

      1. I didn’t think you were politeia.

        I also don’t understand how ten years later we have less hired men/women in uniform to protect us ?

        I agree with you as well that this was terrible crime. That no amount of police would not have stopped it per say.

        I would rather be over staffed then under on any given day.
        Considering the broad span of our township. Some of us are eight miles or more from the township building.

        It’s a good time to ask the township if they have hired the additional needed officers yet? After spending $50,000 our our money to hire a so called ‘expert’ at the very least let’s the hiring process begin.

        More importantly when TESD adminstration tell the parents of school aged children the police will be around more. I’m confused how this will happen when our finest are less staffed than several years ago. ??

  7. What a wonderful post TR!

    I agree tie in both local politics both are going to hell in a hand basket. Schools downward spiral. Not progressing at all and hiring someone who left tarnished and was in law enforcement leaves a lot of sour grapes. However different topic (same township).

    This crime could happen anywhere and a higher # of men and women in uniform would not have stopped it. Scary to think it’s happened twice though in our backyard in a month.
    In that month we’ve gotten the arbitration to end and what’s the status of new police officer hires?

    If the board of supervisors want to spend $50,000 of our tax dollars and have an ‘expert’ tell us to hire two officers and haven’t yet, why? What’s the hold up?

    Suddenly in that time our schools are taking a different approach to safety, thanks to the tragic event in CT. Another any town USA that proves evil can happen anywhere.

    The span of our township is broad we owe the good tax paying citizens protection. While it may not stop a targeted robbery it will be nice to see patrol cars around the area instead of them being tied up with traffic stops, accidents and petty calls. There will be enough to go around town and make the students and parents equally comforted.
    At the very least the Feb. 11th meeting sounds important.

  8. TR said, “The priorities relating to our schools is completely whacked. We are cool with hiring a disgraced former TTPD chief but we don’t let our kids get their textbooks on Kindle, iPad or Tablet.”
    Concerned said, “Schools downward spiral.”
    I have a different perspective on the TESD. The Board has negotiated fair contracts with the teachers and administrators. The Board struggled with transparency recently, but did a nice job communicating with the public during negotiations. The Chambers hiring seems to be a negative, but one that has minor impact on the students. Tablets and Kindles are not the great leap forward that the popular press would have you believe. Despite minor problems, here are the 2 important metrics – TE students perform routinely in the top 1% (SAT, PSSA) of PA schools with middle-of-the-pack spending.

    1. ———————————————–
      Tablets and Kindles are not the great leap forward that the popular press would have you believe


      1. Well, I could reverse the situation and ask you to substantiate that Kindles and tablets are worth the investment. But instead I would point to the absence of any article published in a refereed journal comparing educational gains using high tech devices versus conventional methods.
        There is one popular study that reports positive outcomes for technology adoption.
        However, the study is suspect for a number of reasons. One, the study is self-serving for the sponsors – Intel, Apple, eChalk, HP, etc. Second, the study makes liberal use of the phrases, “Proper implementation” and “Properly implemented”. These are phrases that allow researchers to remove data that would invalidate their desired conclusions. (“This school didn’t see a test score increase even though they implemented 1:1 technology. It must have been because it was not properly implemented”) Three, the actual research report is not available for free. You’ve got to pay for it. This signals that there is something to hide. Four, the study has not been reviewed independently.
        The jury is out on iPads, tablets and Kindles. The investment is high for purchasing the required equipment for each student. The investment is high to train teachers in productive use of technology. There is no savings on content – books vs. ebooks. The population is split on preference for books vs. ebooks. The distraction factor is high. On the positive side, handheld devices are lightweight, portable and interactive. Interactive and adaptive learning technologies can allow students to learn in their own style and at their own pace. Digital learning can provide real-time data so teachers can differentiate instruction with precision.
        Our district will, most likely, implement a pilot 1:1 program using iPads next year. Stay tuned for the results.

        1. ———————————-
          Well, I could reverse the situation and ask you to substantiate that Kindles and tablets are worth the investment

          You could have. I had anticipated that you would do exactly that. In many ways, I invited that response by asking you to substantiate your point.

          But instead I would point to the absence of any article published in a refereed journal comparing educational gains using high tech devices versus conventional methods.

          You do know that using the absence of something as a basis to conclude is logically flawed. It’s known as the Argument of Ignorance. In effect, you are asserting your proposition is true because A: it has not been proven false and B: you have limited the scope of what you would accept as acceptable evidence. At the very least, your point is vulnerable to pragmatism and empiricism. It also remains to be seen if there are in fact, scholarly journals that have published studies on the benefits of technology: assistive, adaptive, etc. as to educational outcomes. One tactical error you made is that is that the sole determinate of the efficacy of technology is “better test scores.” The PSSA’s and standardized tests of that ilk are often not what they are cracked up to be. Take the PSSA’s for example: IT’s all about validity of reliability, what the tests were designed to measure. Nowhere do these tests actually quantify how well the kids learn, how they think, how their cognitive abilities develop.

          Another issue is assuming that I was just referring to the mainstream. What about kids with NLD, Asperger’s, Autism, etc. This is an interesting article on the benefits of technology in that context: One can reasonably extrapolate benefits to the mainstream.

          If we look to business, technology has had a transformative effect. There isn’t anything to suggest that technology does not hold that same promise for education. How about the student that has to be homebound due to illness? A tablet, that has multi-media capabilities (a camera, microphone, etc), helps keep that student connected with his/her school community. Imagine a scenario where content can be updated immediately. Imagine new instructional materials that are adaptive and interactive. Imagine the child that reads about Apollo 11 and then can click a link to see a video. That’s interaction and that typically makes for a better learning environment.

          Finally, to the study you rip apart because you think it is biased and self-serving. While that may be your opinion, what you have done is refute a report based on a straw man ad-hom argument. It’s another logical flaw. Many of the conclusions that study reaches are things I’ve seen in business. There is zero reason to think that those same benefits don’t accrue to the educational sector.

          The jury is out on iPads, tablets and Kindles.
          It is? What jury? Whose jury? Was there a Scopes-like monkey trial I missed?

          The investment is high for purchasing the required equipment for each student. The investment is high to train teachers in productive use of technology. There is no savings on content – books vs. ebooks.

          The investment in the space program was high too. Here’s an interesting article:

          eBooks are cheaper. When school districts get devices in bulk, there are major cost savings. And it’s not just eBooks, it’s the combination of books with interactive media content. Teachers and staff do have to be trained to implement the technology in the right way. In business, it’s no different.

          With that, I respectfully reject your conclusions except for where you agree that adaptive and interactive technology has a benefit. Curious, did you vote for or against the 1:1 pilot at UCF?

        2. TR,
          You missed my point. I’m not trying to prove that iPads or Kindles are ineffective. Maybe they are ineffective; maybe they are very effective. My point is – there is no evidence that convinces me one way or the other.
          Before I vote to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars of other people’s money, money that might be used more productively for other educational initiatives, I’d like more than questionable studies or anecdotal information. If Apple or Intel or Microsoft wants to make the investment instead of the taxpayers, I’m all for it.
          There has been no vote yet on the UCF pilot. It’s being studied by the Curriculum Committee.

        3. Keith,

          Trying to follow you here. Earlier, you said:

          Tablets and Kindles are not the great leap forward that the popular press would have you believe

          Now you are saying:
          I’m not trying to prove that iPads or Kindles are ineffective.

          You made very strong conclusion, one that I addressed. I addressed it by going beyond the “popular presss”. It’s good to hear that you are not trying to prove that the kind of tech we are discussing is ineffective. If that was what you were trying to do, you are not succeeding.

          Technology, by itself, is worthless. People have to weild that technology. Technology, like many things, is just a tool. It can be used and misused. And in some cases, abused.

          POC’s and pilots are a prudent means to validate and verify whether a given solution is valid for a given problem. In that regard, I agree with you. I would be the last one to suggest that anybody invest $’s on an unproven concept for a given context. That would be going off a high-dive without knowing if there was water (and sufficient water) in the diving well. That’s just common sense.

          But to missing your point? No, I didn’t miss your point. You made a conclusion without a basis and I asked you to substantiate that conclusion. We were talking about the effacacy of the tech, not whether it fit within your budget parameters. Your conclusions were rather broad. You concluded the tech isn’t what it’s cracked up to be and you cited a story and then trashed the story based on some perceived bias from your point of view. You say its questionable, but that’s just your opinion. You don’t really attack the science or the methodology. You simply conclude the study is flawed because of who was involved. In fact, there is nothing wrong with anecdotal evidence if you are comparing apples to apples, if the basis upon which you are concluding things scales. Is it a fair extrapolation?

          At the end of the day Keith, you have to rely on people to carry out a plan. It’s really beyond question as to whether technology such as this CAN have a positive effect. The real question is whether you have a good plan to verify and validate. It also goes to how committed one is to education. Everyything is a risk. Do you trust your people. Do you have competent people? That’s something only you can answer. I don’t know you, your people or your district.

    2. Keith, are you suggesting that technology (digital textbooks, tablets, etc) is not important in public education?

      Progressive education is one that integrates technology into the classroom. Not that I am suggesting that technology should take the place of classroom teachers, but rather it can enhance the educational experience. I am not a fan of school district’s spending money on the latest cool electronic gadgets unless there is an integrated plan for usage and the appropriate training in place. Technology should be an important tool for use in the classroom; however it if it implemented poorly, the results can be disappointing. Taking it a step further, I’d say that we would be doing a disservice, by not providing students a competitive, state-of-the art educational experience, which includes current technology.

      1. Pattye,
        There is no lack of fads promising to lift education to the next level – fuzzy math, whole language, brain science, learning styles, block scheduling, the self esteem movement, to name a few. Some are harmless; some are destructive.
        I agree with what you say – properly implemented, technology has a place in the classroom. Is the use of 1:1 technology (iPads, Kindles) a fad? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t rush headlong into a big investment. There is no model for “proper implementation” and there are only anecdotal reports of the gains.

  9. I wonder if the victims of the home invasion had a gun available to them? While understood that even having a weapon may not have helped in this case, I am just wondering. I would think jewelers would be apt to carry a sidearm. I know a few who do. Just askin….

  10. Wow! This has been an interesting discussion. My comment is that anyone who is against ebooks vs paper books obviously doesn’t own a kindle. Let’s get rid of the book bags and save our kids backs.

  11. Every student in LMSD gets a “free” (taxpayer funded) school issued laptop with all sorts of interactive learning technology (this was the source of several spying lawsuits – there have also been several race discrimination lawsuits). Heck, kindergartners get iPads.

    While LM still has two excellent high schools, and I’m not a big fan of test scores, and LMSD still has pretty high test scores, LMSD is the lowest of the three traditional Main Line school districts – LM, Radnor, TE.

    Note LMSD has the highest school taxes of these three – as well as highest township taxes, but school taxes are the big hit.

    I will admit that learning computer technology at a young age in a manner where you can apply it to learning and making sure underprivileged kids get the same opportunity is awesome and I don’t see a negative, I also am not sure this has given students much of an an edge unless they intend to be a computer programmer.

    1. Thanks P.
      The research on the “negative” is spotty at best, because saying no doesn’t sell anything, so it’s not funded. But if you ever spend time with a 3year old and a real puzzle, or book, or Lego, and then switch to the digital options, it’s easy to see how stimulating the digital versions are. It’s also easy to see the isolation that it allows and even provokes. How can we one month talk about violence and video games and the next month suggest we need to depersonalize learning? Kids need human skills, not just technical skills. We need to study Singapore’s model. We need great teachers. maybe ereaders would be nice, but they are certainly NOT necessary….this generation of kids needs to learn to talk…not type.

  12. what happened to the day when you got your own kid his/her computer? This is absurd,. And for those “poor” kids, I am sure there is some “equalization” govt program, or will be soon as some good doer sues someone for something. blah

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