DEENEY: On Delco’s GPS Killer


deeneythumbnail.jpgBY JEFF DEENEY FOR THE DAILY BEAST James Stropas apparently had no idea that his car was being tracked. It was June 21, coming off another in a series of scorching hot weekends in the quaint Philadelphia suburb of Springfield. Unbeknownst to Stropas, his Jeep Grand Cherokee had a small GPS device attached to its frame that was now broadcasting a signal, silently pinpointing his location as he pulled into the parking lot of the bustling Olde Sproul Shopping Village strip mall. According to police, a man with a laptop accessed the GPS data at 10:40 a.m. Ten minutes later, that man climbed into Stropas’s Jeep and stuck a knife in him. The victim was an Iraq War vet who just returned from the battlefield in March. He had signed up for a couple of tours as an Army sergeant after September 11th. He also happened to be dating the not-yet-divorced wife of one Sean Burton, and had recently moved into her Springfield home. That same Sean Burton was pulled over by Springfield police not far from the scene minutes after witnesses to the crime called the police; he was covered in blood, and weakly claiming self-defense as the reason for the mutilated corpse curled up under the passenger’s-side dashboard.  MORE

ALSO: The two-year odyssey of the teenage “Barefoot Bandit” who became a folk hero for evading cops by stealing planes was finally ended yesterday bandit-420x0.jpgafter a high-speed boat chase in the Bahamas. Colton Harris-Moore, 19, was stopped when cops shot out the engine of the stolen speedboat he was zooming away in. “It was like something you might see in the movies,” Royal Bahamas Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade told reporters. “At one point, the boy threw his computer in the water and put a gun to his head. He was going to kill himself. Police talked him out of it,” Anne Ward, manager of the Romora Bay Resort, told CNN. The fugitive was led away shoeless and in shackles to the disappointment of his 70,000 Facebook fans. He faces extradition to the U.S., where he is wanted for burglary and theft in six states. The skinny 6-foot-5 Washington State teen had been on the run since 2008, stealing cars, boats and at least five planes. MORE

skeleton_running.gifALSO: The homicide rate has crept up in Philadelphia in recent weeks, at a time when the cash-strapped city government is making cuts to the Police Department. Through Friday, 157 people had been slain this year in Philadelphia. That’s up from 151 during the same period last year. Overall, violent crime in the city is down this year compared with last year, and the homicide number remains far lower than just a few years ago. In 2007 during the same period, 212 people already had been slain. Still, the Nutter administration stressed that it was trying to quickly crack down on the problem in the typically more dangerous summer months. MORE

RELATED: About 1:30 p.m., police say, Barham’s grandson, Michael Anthony Parker-Barham III, 17, was inside SEPTA’s 52nd Street Station when he was hit by three bullets. More had been fired: Cops placed at least 14 bullet markers in the station’s lobby and up the stairs leading to the Market-Frankford El. “It was extremely brazen,” homicide Capt. James Clark said of the afternoon shooting. “We also think there were a lot of people out there at the time who saw something and left.” MORE

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