Business Shares Photo of Alleged Thief’s Arrest on Facebook, Sparks Outcry


A photo of sweet justice or a picture of cruel gloating? That’s the debate raging on Facebook after a Philadelphia antique store posted a hard-hitting photo of a young man being arrested last week after being caught in the act of robbing the store.

The photo shows the unnamed young black man lying on the dirty floor of the store, in obvious discomfort, as a paramedic examines him and a police officer keeps watch. Accompanying it is the following caption by Philadelphia Salvage: “The Foundry was broken into. But come on. We CAUGHT him. Team Philly Salvage & PPD F— yeah!”


For some in the city, it was too much. The photo attracted widespread criticism on Facebook, with several commenters mentioning delicate racial sensitivities in the wake of the Trayvon Martin verdict.

“Will never, ever do business with Philly Salvage.,” wrote Janine Schwab. “Why would you do this? It’s literally the most unprofessional thing I have ever seen and gloats in the indignity of a fellow human being. What were you thinking?”

“I’ve been robbed before, too, and it is awful and I am so sorry for what you’ve been through,” wrote Diana Day, “but posting this photo is tasteless and vindictive.”

Others weighed in supporting the salvage company. “This is what getting caught looks like,” wrote Giddeon Rettich. “Good business practice or not, we don’t see things like this often. It’s worthy of discussion, it’s a compelling photo, it is a hard reality.”

Philadelphia Salvage was unapologetic in the end, refusing to take the photo down. “It is what it is,” according to the store’s Facebook response. “A thief that was caught (which rarely happens) and that’s why I posted it. All too often, people are robbed and they never catch him. It’s not a staged photo, it’s raw, which is how I felt being violated and put in harms way.”

Thanks for sending in the tip, Bas!

  • Nik.C

    What’s the issue here? TV programs regularly name and shame individuals who are either wanted for robberies or have been caught doing so, local councils here in the UK also publicise those who have been doing so in the neighbourhood, they’re just cutting out the middle man!
    If you’ve ever been robbed of stuff you’ve worked your arse off for, there’s plenty who would like to do a whole lot more than just humiliate them using Facebook.
    Sorry, no sympathy here, this is a social network doing something other than posting cute pictures of cats or your meal from last night, this is reality. I’d do exactly the same.

  • Bristol

    I read some of the comments for that picture and there is actually some interesting, passionate dialogue going on, though unfortunately a lot of it is mired in ignorance and radicalism too. I don’t think the Trayvon comparison has any bearing here, aside from this [obvious criminal] being black and it actually sounds racist to me that anyone would make that connection. This guy does not look like he’s being subjected to any particularly horrible abuse, as many perps are put on the ground to be searched, cuffed, etc. and the fact that it’s a dirty floor is inconsequential – the whole building is a grimy place. Finally, I do think that it’s a bit unprofessional and sensationalist to post a photo of this happening, and this photo in particular, but the guys who run PS aren’t Christie’s auction house. It’s a blue collar, lower-middle class business in a very diverse but troubled neighborhood. I know from experience that Philadelphians don’t shy away from getting their hands dirty and taking pride in their victories over the scum and crooks of the city.

  • Pascual Cora Jr.

    I see nothing wrong with the picture. With that said whats up with this article? Slow news week? This is only a controversy because a few hypersensitive political goons make anything where a white man and a black man are involved a case of racism.

  • BoB

    Shoot the carjacker!

  • tarena1991

    The fact that people are comparing this criminal to Trayvon is horrifically racist in itself. The only thing that connects them is being black… Following that guideline, Jackie Chan has disturbing overtones of Chairman Mao…

  • KH

    I guess some people have never seen the show Cops.

  • Wil Phu LeMaul

    It’s Facebook. Who cares. Bunch of whiney little girls. Good for Foundry. Too bad they couldn’t post his name and booking photo as well. Maybe the little thug would think twice about doing it again. Oh, that would take thinking, not gonna happen here…

  • markelliot

    I guess what strikes me as different from COPS or nightly news of the same incident, is that the “still” image doesn’t go away in blip like a video clip…it stays there and causes a reaction and the image is kept in my minds eye even after looking away.

    I have no objection to the posting of photo, maybe in some way it may show others the ‘real’ side of act and not the bragging side…

  • Michael Zhang

    Hey Bristol, Thanks so much for your feedback on this. We’ve edited the text to remove that reference.

  • nope

    Note to store owner – being broken into isn’t being put “in harm’s way.” It sucks, and it’s violating, but it isn’t the same as violence. On the other hand, the guy on the floor at least appears to need a medic.

    The thief is obviously a criminal who should be put away for awhile, but I’m sorry – people who revel in revenge like this aren’t any better.

  • morgannagrom

    You’re quite wrong. People who revel in the capture of a criminal are MUCH better than the criminals.

  • Checker66

    Actually, in the Zimmerman trial a witness and the medical examiner both testified that when Martin was shot he was sitting on Zimmerman’s chest pounding his head into the pavement, so another thing these two have in common is that they are both criminals.

  • lidocaineus

    What? He’s got an opinion. How can that be “wrong”? Opinions, by their nature, are neither right nor wrong.

  • Mark Zimmerman

    I believe you just committed Libel in your headline?

  • harumph

    I guess I can see the argument that it appears unprofessional for a business to be posting something like this to their Facebook page, but it’s a salvage yard, not Nordstrom’s. Junkyards aren’t exactly known for their customer-friendly environments.

  • harumph

    Neither the medical examiner nor any of the witnesses testified that Martin was “pounding [Zimmerman’s] head into the pavement.” That’s your characterization based entirely on Zimmerman’s own somewhat fluid accounts. In fact, the medical examiner testified that Zimmerman’s “superficial” head wounds were inconsistent with the defendant’s sworn testimony.

  • Zos Xavius

    Wow. Why feel sympathy for someone that thinks its ok to steal? “Vindictive??” Oh please. Lets all feel sorry for someone who was doing something wrong and got caught. Who is the victim here?!?

  • Checker66

    Well, I guess I was assuming that when you punch someone in the face the back of his head will be pounded into whatever’s underneath. Zimmerman had a broken nose, bruises on his face, and abrasions on the back of his head. Besides the bullet, Martin’s only injuries were scraped up knuckles, which is what you get from punching people in the head. All this is consistent with what Zimmerman, the witness, and the medical examiner said. Also, according to his texts, Martin was fond of sucker punching people and getting into fights.

  • the_gator

    Shaming him? He is a robber, anyone who thinks a photo of this lowlife, did I mention he was robbing someone, feels sorry for him really need to look at their values and priorities.

  • Christopher Stock

    We have Thirsty Thursday (free beer every Thursday from 4 to 7) that’s totally customer Friendly. haha

  • harumph

    I’m afraid you’ve bought into a fantasy version of what was determined by the court. Zimmerman did not have a broken nose, and Martin did not have scraped up knuckles. Those two facts are supported by the EMS report and the Martin autopsy report. Zimmerman claimed that EMS told him his nose was broken, but this was contradicted by EMS. Martin’s autopsy report only notes “a 1/4″ x 1/8″ small abrasion on the left fourth finger.”

    Don’t believe what the news tells you. Here is a link to the autopsy report:

    And here is a link to the EMS report:

    And while you’re at it, you might want to watch the initial Sanford Police interview where Zimmerman claims that he was the one who was on top of Martin.

  • harumph

    I’ll be there.

  • Michael Andrew Broughton

    i don’t see this as any different from when a store takes a printout of a shoplifter’s face caught on a surveillance camera and displays it by the front door.

  • Christopher Stock

    Bristol- Blue collar, lower middle class in troubled neighborhood?

    GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT before spewing inaccurate facts. We deal with Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Urban Outfitters, Wholefoods just to name a few. Pretty much every new restaurant and retail in the developing world is using reclaimed, American Industrial materials and some of our stuff is there.

    As for troubled neighborhood? Are you kidding? Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill and Philadelphia as a whole are a growing city. I have a degree from a university, two people who work for me have graduate degrees and my business is growing.

  • Christopher Stock

    Hey Nope, I was IN the building at the time. Did he have a gun? A knife? I don’t know. WTF? How would you feel if you where sitting on the couch at home and someone broke in with you and your family sitting at the table. Would you be shocked? Scared, protective of your family? Feeling in Harm’s way. You’re a douche.

  • Bill

    I don’t see a problem here. Now if the store would have paraded the “suspect” up an down the street showing him off, then that would be crossing some lines.

    Racism? Where? Because the suspect just happened to be a black male? I’m sure if he were any other race, there would have been nothing said.

    As for showing him off on their facebook page, what would be the difference if they showed this image over a surveillance video snapshot except the image quality?
    This just goes to show that some businesses take pride and want to show that a robbery is not going to stop them from doing what they do.
    Maybe more business owners should take a stand like these guys, then maybe criminals would think harder before targeting them.

  • Bristol

    Sorry if my “spewing” offended you. I’ll admit that I haven’t lived in the area for a couple years, and I guess our experiences differ somewhat. The Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill that I know are places where the diversity I spoke of manifests itself in the high-end stores that you mentioned, while the wrong street puts you in with thugs and drunks who have started fights with my friends and I multiple times. Most of my friends who grew up there were in families struggling to get by – not that they were poor, but that they were clinging on hard to the middle class life they wanted for their families so they wouldn’t be forced out of the neighborhood.

    Philadelphia may be growing, but I still read articles about brain drain in certain sectors, namely the ones that make the most money such as law and medicine, and those of the upper crust who still make the most money live in the Main Line or somewhere like that. Glad to hear that you guys are doing well though!

  • Stephen Sidlo

    Was the issue with the picture, the sharing or the caption? I think the latter.

  • morgannagrom

    Also wrong. It’s my opinion that his or her opinion is wrong. And there’s nothing wrong with that. ;)

  • lidocaineus

    Quite the adult you are.

    Oh and please, downvote me more with your fake accounts. The votes are very important.

  • harumph

    Lol, you thought I wasn’t going to bother to read that, didn’t you? Once again, you don’t have your facts straight. Folgate was not the assistant who treated Martin after EMS brought him in. EMS never brought Zimmerman in, because he refused further examination that night. Folgate performed an examination that occurred the day after the shooting. Zimmerman told her that he had been in a fight and that his face had been shoved into the ground (This is significant because he made no claims to having his head slammed into the sidewalk, and responding officers said that the struggle had taken place in the wet grass).

    At any rate, the quote that you’ve selectively clipped is surrounded by this helpful context. In a nutshell, Zimmerman claimed that EMS told him his nose was broken, but EMS says it wasn’t, so Zimmerman went to a doctor who says she couldn’t say one way or the other because Zimmerman refused x-rays.

    “FOLGATE: Bruising noted to the nasolabial folds bilateral was welling. The nasolabial folds would be the folds between the nose and the mouth. And there was some swelling noted there and some bruising, so darkening of the skin. No evidence of septal deviation on visual
    inspection meaning the septum, which is the center part of your nose appeared to be straight and in alignment. No bleeding noted in the nares, which means there is no blood in the nose itself. No hemotempanums of the bilateral ears, which means there’s no blood behind the eardrums and no evidence of tonsilar stones, which was a complaint
    that he had outside of the current reason that he was there.

    RIONDA: So let talk about the nose itself, no evidence of septal deviation. What does that mean?

    FOLGATE: Septal deviation again would mean is the alignment of the nose correct?

    RIONDA: So his nose is straight in other words?

    FOLGATE: Correct.

    RIONDA: It is not crooked or in any way damage to that extent?

    FOLGATE: Not on visual inspection, no.

    RIONDA: Based on your examination of his nose, can you say the nose was broken?

    I would say likely broken. It’s hard to say definitively based of — the fact that there were no x-rays to show the break itself. However most of the time a broken nose can be made clinically as well and that’s based off of the black eyes that we saw, the nasolabial swelling, and the bruising.

    RIONDA: So you can say, it is or isn’t or you don’t know or–?

    I couldn’t say definitively one way or the other because I have no direct x-ray saying this is exactly where the fractured occurred, but clinically appearing, it appeared to be, yes.

    RIONDA: But it was still perfectly straight?

    FOLGATE: It was still straight. There was no septal deviation.”

  • TSY87

    Words out of my mouth. It’s as if those who are yelling the loudest about the problem of racism are the ones that are perpetuating it.

  • nope

    Hey, you know what? There’s not a damn thing in the article that suggests anyone was in the building at the time, or even that the thief was armed. But thanks for calling me a douche, that’s helpful.

  • Christopher Stock

    Your quoting me saying “I was in harms way” and then you say “being broken into is not in harms way, its sucks… etc.” Why do you think I put that I was in harms way? Yes it was helpful.

  • Christopher Stock

    Stephen, have you ever been robbed? I have, several times. It goes with the construction business. I was so happy that we finally caught one, that I posted that. It’s just that you NEVER catch these guys and they do 1k’s sometimes 10k’s of damage.

  • sinister dexter

    Cockwomble shouldn’t go round robbing places, then there would be no issue.

  • Stephen Sidlo

    Yes I was just upset you didn’t post it to the global news with us, rather than FB.