Binary Bandits, the sequel? House number theft surfaces in South Philly

The weirdest crime from last summer looks like it’s happening again.

The '1' at Craig Barbieri's home was yanked off, and he put up a makeshift replacement.

The '1' at Craig Barbieri's home was yanked off, and he put up a makeshift replacement.

Mark Dent/Billy Penn

Does South Philly have its own sloppier version of the address-number-stealing Binary Bandits? Let’s go to the video!

Overnight Sunday, a group walking along South Broad Street yanked the “1” off 1501 S. Broad (they didn’t take the “0”), and resident Craig Barbieri caught the theft via security cam. In it, a man identified as Brian separates from five other people and takes down the number.

Barbieri is not the only one with numbers missing in the area. The block directly north of him contained several houses without address numbers. 1401 Broad Street, for instance, was missing the first “1” and the “0” but not the last “1.” A couple doors down, all four digits of an apartment building were gone. Two residents who had been out of town for the weekend noted the numbers had previously been there.

South Philly binary bandits
Mark Dent/Billy Penn
South Philly binary bandits
Mark Dent/Billy Penn
South Philly binary bandits
Mark Dent/Billy Penn

Along the 1400 block a total of four houses had at least one digit missing and then yet another house was missing numbers on purpose. The owner noted she’s never had her address displayed. This is South Philly.

In East Kensington last year, the Binary Bandits stole dozens of numbers off houses, always “0s” and “1s.” The police never caught the culprits, but 83 numbers were dropped off at the home of Meghan Haley, who first released footage of the Binary Bandits.

If the same group from Barbieri’s video had taken down these other numbers on South Broad, they apparently lack the organization and the sophistication of the Binary Bandits.

In the video, another person in the group is identified as Abby. One woman says, “I’m going to go home and watch ‘The Leftovers’ and cry in my bed” before another shouts, “What is he doing? Brian!” And, as Barbieri noted in a description he wrote on YouTube, “two of the ladies appear to be exposing and fondling their breasts.”

The 3rd District police said it had not received any reports about stolen address numbers. Barbieri said he planned to report the theft today.

He said he especially wanted the number back because it was a gift from his in-laws. A storm had damaged the facade of his house and after renovating it he put the new numbers up. Falling scaffolding damaged his numbers once again, and he had just recently re-posted the “1.”

“I guess I didn’t use enough adhesive,” Barbieri said.

Just from sharing his story and video on a South Philly listserv, Barbieri has received a few tips so far. None have been too helpful yet.

“One person thinks that they moved like dancers,” he said, “so check the dance school.”

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