Return of the Binary Bandits: Philly thieves who went global are back

Your 1s and 0s are (still) not safe.

These two individuals were caught on two separate home surveillance systems stealing numbers off of homes in East Kensington.

These two individuals were caught on two separate home surveillance systems stealing numbers off of homes in East Kensington.

Videos via Meghan Haley and Jenna Feldman

When Mike Almquist saw a national CBS story about 0s and 1s being stolen from the fronts of homes in his Philadelphia neighborhood, he had a 0 on the outside of his home and figured the day would come when he’d be the next victim.

That day was Monday.

When Almquist, a band manager who lives near the intersection of Dauphin and Coral in East Kensington, walked out of his home Monday morning, he noticed his 0 was missing.

“I was just like ‘Dammit,'” he said. “I knew this was going to happen.”

It appears that even after the story was picked up by national and international news outlets last month, the duo dubbed the “Binary Bandits” is *still* taking 0s and 1s off of homes in the same area. Almquist is certain his was taken early in the morning on Monday. Another man who lives in the area had a 0 taken from his house this week — for the second time.

We told you back in September about the two thieves caught on camera methodically taking just 0s and 1s off of homes in the East Kensington area. More than 20 homes in the neighborhood had numbers stripped from the front of their house in the course of just a week.

Here are surveillance videos submitted to Billy Penn of both individuals:

The thefts still seem to be concentrated on the 2200- and 2300-blocks of Amber Street, the 2000- and 2100-blocks of East Susquehanna Avenue and the 2000- and 2100-blocks of East Dauphin Street, with some homes on the periphery of that area now being targeted.

Most residents and homeowners who were targeted by the thefts speculate that either these thieves are trying really hard to communicate in binary, or they’re working on some elaborate art installation with, yes, just 0s and 1s.


“Obviously there’s some sort of intention behind it,” Almquist said. “They’re targeting a specific style, and they’re targeting the 1s and 0s, specifically.”

For now, he’s just trying to figure out if he wants to replace his missing 0.

“I don’t want to invite more vandalism,” he said, “but I want the curb appeal of my home back.”

Police haven’t yet responded to a request for comment on the continuing thefts. Anyone with information is asked to call 911. In addition, the 26th District can be reached at 215-686-3260 and is located at 615 E. Girard Ave.

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