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Main Street Jeweler Robbed at Gun Point

Longtime business owner is robbed at gunpoint Tuesday morning.

A longtime Manayunk business owner was struck over the head with the butt of a handgun during a brazen, daytime robbery Tuesday on Main Street, according to police at the scene.

A.I. Poland Jewelers, located at 4347 Main St., was only open for about a half-hour Tuesday morning when a man entered the store and asked to see a product, said 5th District Philadelphia Police Cpt. John Cerrone.

When the owner went to the back of the store to retrieve the item, the man confronted a female employee with a gun, Cerrone said.

When the owner emerged from the rear of the store, he was struck with a gun. Both the owner, identified as Victor Ostroff, and the employee, who was not identified, had their hands bound with an unspecified material.

After the two were bound, a second man entered the store, at which time the suspects “ransacked” the store, Cerrone said.

“They made out with an undetermined amount of jewelry,” Cerrone said.

The two men finally fled the store sometime after 11:30 or thereabouts, the captain said.

One man was described as a black male about six feet tall with a goatee, and wearing blue jeans and perhaps some sort of wig.

Police did not offer a clear description of the second suspect, although he, too, may have been wearing a wig or disguise.

“We don’t have a clear direction of flight, but [they] may have headed south here on Main, and then onto a side street,” Cerrone said.

Ostroff and his employee eventually broke free from their bindings and contacted police.

There was a decent police presence Tuesday late morning and early afternoon at the crime scene, located near the intersection of Main and Grape streets.

Uniformed officers guarded the door while investigators took statements inside and looked for clues.

Plainclothes officers from the 5th and 39th districts combed the neighborhood looking for surveillance cameras that might have caught the duo.

At about 1 p.m., detectives arrived onscene and fanned throughout the neighborhood, also looking for clues and any information that might be helpful to the investigation.

A small crowd gathered outside while police and emergency medical personnel attended to the victims.

Many expressed shock such a thing not only happened in normally crime-free Manayunk, but to a longstanding business owner like Ostroff.

“He’s the nicest guy,” said Jerry Yellin, owner of L’Etoile Salon and Spa, located across from the jewelry shop. “He’s just unassuming and really great. He’s great for the street.”

“Friends for years,” was how Bruce Cooper, a local business owner and president of Manayunk’s business association, described Ostroff.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Cooper said on his reaction upon learning the news of the armed robbery.

Ostroff apparently suffered a head wound, but it wasn’t serious enough to warrant a trip to the hospital, police said. Paramedics apparently treated him inside his store.

Cerrone, the police captain, said this type of violent crime is extremely rare in Manayunk, and his 5th district as a whole.

“This does not happen frequently here,” he said. “We are not faced with this type of crime very often. Obviously, violent crime is a major concern.”

Patch will continue to bring you more information about this robbery as it becomes available.  

Laura March 29, 2011 at 06:06 PM
"Cerrone, the police captain, said this type of violent crime is extremely rare in Manayunk, and his 5th district as a whole." but he refuses to address the quality of life issues that are a growing problem and so more and more families are moving out and the poulation is more of a transiate one - he'll have plenty to keep his officers busy soon enough.
Donna March 30, 2011 at 04:19 PM
I agree Laura. The neighborhood is no longer family oriented at all. More of a transiate free- for- all.
Michael March 31, 2011 at 10:03 PM
Man gets pistol whipped and you are worried about quality of life issues? You have to be kidding me. Not the right forum. And when was Manayunk a "family" oriented place? I can assure you it's not the transient (I assume that is what you meant) folks vandalizing cars, applying graffiti to any bare wall, or robbing people. FYI, its those transient people who helped turn this place around and increase most of the property values in the area. But I guess it's easier to blame your problems on others. That's what uneducated or lazy people do.
Donna March 31, 2011 at 11:20 PM
increase property value?...the REAL neighbors are struggling to live here! Surely Michael, you must be one of THOSE people! AND YES...the transient's do valdalize the properties...each time they piss in front of my house, have their dog shit on my lawn (and not pick it up)...leave the dying red "plastic cup soldiers" on the street or a beer bottle in front of someone's tire...they are vandalzing! Surely, thier parents (from the burbs) spoiled them religiously and held them to be entiled to the right to crap on the neighbors doorstep! Schools and Churches have closed due to "families" who almost were forced to move from the beloved neighborhood. But again, transient's have NO clue as to what a neighborhood is....next question?
Michael April 01, 2011 at 02:41 AM
No. I'm not one of THOSE people although there was a time you could consider me that. But I'm not even sure what your version of transient is. I thought I knew when I posted previously and I think I'm a bit more certain so I'll proceed as such. I grew up here.. My family moved out of here in the early 70's. Why? Because it was in the decline. Well before "THOSE" people came about. Local Drunks, kid's behavior getting worst and worst every year. Blight. What else... Robberies? Not often. There was nothing or no one to rob. Do you really think the neighborhood is worst off now then 15-20-30 years ago? You have to reach back pretty far. Look we all have our stories. And I agree with you on the urination in public and especially the dog crap. But I'm not one to jump on "THOSE" people for the either. Seeing a 58 year man leaking in a parking lot is not my idea of "THOSE" people. Nor is the girl up the street that I know has lived here her whole life and I've seen let her two dogs crap and not pick it up. And the beer bottles? Come on. The recycle people has often left bottles in the street or grass. And keep in mind streets are curved and bottles roll. So in all that's a general problem. And to me those are nuisance things. Things that cover the real problems. Like the increase kid violence. Wanderers from other neighborhoods. Increase auto theft. I could go on. And how are people struggling live here? It's a fact property values have increase dramatically.

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