Five Philadelphia police officers are being investigated for allegedly breaking into a woman's home and stealing valuables from inside.
Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bethel confirms a police sergeant and four officers from the 24th District Narcotics Unit, known as the '5 Squad,' are under investigation by the Internal Affairs Division for the alleged crime.
Police sources tell NBC10's Harry Hairston the officers allegedly broke into India Torres' home along the 2900 block of Hurley Street in the Kensington section of the city on Wednesday night.
Witnesses say they watched officers push their way through a window to get into the home.
Once inside, officers then swiped several belongings including a uniform for the Philadelphia Police Explorers program, according to sources. Torres says her 15-year-old daughter is part of the program.
The narcotics officers did not have a warrant and the woman was not home at the time of the incident, sources also say.
After learning about the burglary the next morning, Torres tells NBC10 she went to the 24th District and filed a police report.
While at the district headquarters, sources say, someone noticed the stolen uniform hanging around. The department's Internal Affairs Division was then contacted.
Investigators, upon arriving at the district on Thursday night, declared the district a crime scene and began searching for the belongings, sources say. At least some of the missing belongings were eventually found inside the 24th District and were not recorded on an evidence inventory sheet.
Police also went to the woman's home and dusted for fingerprints along the windowsill where they allegedly gained entry.
Bethel would not confirm who filed the complaint or whether the officers under investigation were ever investigated previously.
"The officers' status at this point is that they have been removed from duty, taken off the street, put in the office temporarily while the investigation unfolds," he said. "We take these complaints seriously. We address them and we will continue to move forward as an organization."
The Internal Affairs investigation is ongoing.
First published October 25 2013, 6:15 PM