Watch CBS News

Police identify man charged for role in Philadelphia vandalism spree: DA's Office

Philadelphia police identify, charge man wanted in connection with church vandalism spree
Philadelphia police identify, charge man wanted in connection with church vandalism spree 00:31

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Police have released the name of the man they took into custody on Thursday night in connection with a vandalism spree that targeted local churches and religious shrines in Philadelphia, officials with the DA's Office said Saturday.

Haneef Cooper, 39, was charged in connection with six incidents of vandalism, DA officials said. The instances Cooper has been charged with so far all occurred within two days, Feb. 19 and 20.

Cooper was charged with six counts of criminal mischief and possession of an instrument of crime for each incident. Officials said he is also charged with institutional vandalism for the two incidents involving religious places of worship.

The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office said the first incident Cooper was charged in was at the Touraine Apartments on the 1500 block of Spruce Street on Monday, Feb. 19. Surveillance video caught a man on camera knocking a big flower pot off a ledge outside the apartment building.

The second incident was at the historic Mother Bethel AME Church in Society Hill. Church staff told police three stained glass windows and a door window had been damaged. A nearby resident said she woke up to the sounds of glass breaking at the church between 4-5 a.m. She also told police that she saw a man throwing an object at the church after she woke up. 

Person of interest in custody after vandalism spree in Philadelphia, sources say 01:57

Smoothie and acai bowl chain, Playa Bowls, on the 200 block of South 11th Street called police with reports of damage to a side window. Store surveillance footage caught a man on camera throwing a rock and breaking the window just before 6:40 a.m. still on Monday.

Another broken window was reported at an electronics repair store on the 1100 block of Walnut Street Monday. Surveillance video caught the same sight -- a man throwing a rock through the window at around 8:20 a.m.

The next day, Tuesday, Feb. 20, staff at the Science History Institute on the 300 block of Chestnut Street also reported a broken window. A man was caught on camera throwing something to break a window at around 9 a.m.

Just moments later, a nearby area SEPTA video showed the same man going into the 5th Street Market-Frankford Station.

Staff from St. Peter the Apostle Church and The National Shrine of St. John Neumann on the 1000 block of North 5th Street reported three broken stained glass windows to police. Police found the same sight on surveillance video -- a man throwing things at the windows earlier Tuesday morning.

Officials said each time the man was caught on surveillance video, he was found wearing the same clothing. A couple days later on Thursday night just before 8:40 p.m., while on patrol, SEPTA police officers spotted the man -- dressed in the same clothing -- near 5200 Frankford Avenue.

"We have at least six other incidents that we're looking at spanning in that same timeframe," Deputy Police Commissioner Frank Vanore said in a press conference Friday. "We are going to continue to investigate what he did this time and attempt to charge him with as many of these incidents that he's responsible for."

Police said Cooper has been charged with criminal mischief in the past going as far back as 2011. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.