PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Four men have been federally indicted on arson charges connected to torched police cars during the unrest on May 30 in Philadelphia.
Federal authorities say Ayoub Tabri and others who remain unidentified shattered the windows of two state trooper SUVs parked at Broad and Vine streets. Authorities said they stole riot gear, fire extinguishers and flares from the cars, and took one of those flares, lit it and torched the car.
“The indictment charges Tabri with arson, attempted arson, aiding and abetting, and obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder,” said U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain.
Tabri is charged but is not in custody, said FBI Special Agent in Charge Mike Driscoll.
“If he hears this message, that he reach out and make contact with us as soon as possible,” Driscoll said.
If anyone has any information regarding this individual or any such acts of violence, they are asked to call the FBI at 1800-CALL-FBI.
McSwain said a short time later, by City Hall, three others — Anthony Smith, Carlos Matchett and Khalif Miller — then set a Philadelphia police car on fire with a flare.
“There were a lot of people that were surrounding these vehicles that were destroyed or torched, and anybody that we can identify that had a role in that and that we can positively identify and the evidence points to, we will charge,” McSwain said.
Each of the defendants face seven to 65 years in federal prison.
With more unrest following the shooting death of Walter Wallace Jr. and possible unrest following Election Day, McSwain said it’s a warning for others who want to destroy property.
“It is almost impossible for you to go anywhere in the city of Philadelphia without a camera on you, whether that’s a security camera, surveillance camera, cell phone camera. You’re not going to be able to torch police cars and do things that like with impunity,” he said.
He added that they continue to investigate the unrest both recently and in the spring.