Watch: 2 men throw explosive into gas station store over dispute with owner, police say

Kristen Johanson
August 09, 2019 - 4:53 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Authorities have released surveillance video of a pair of men throwing an explosive into a Philadelphia gas station store last month — all over a dispute about a drink.

They're asking the public to help identify them.

The video shows a pair of men, both wearing white T-shirts, throw something into the Express Fuel station convenience store along Frankford Avenue, near Robbins Avenue. Just before midnight on July 18, one man held the door open, and the other threw the device, which blew up and started a fire.

The suspects quickly ran off.

"That explosive device lights, causes an explosion and then catches a rack of snacks, potato chips bags and stuff on fire," continued Northeast Detectives Lt. Dennis Rosenbaum.

He said store employees first hit an emergency off-switch for gas pumps.  

"Then you see the employees try to get the rack out of the store before the store catches fire," he added.

No one was hurt. He credited the workers with stopping a possible catastrophe.

"Anything could have happened in that situation," Rosenbaum added. "There are a set of gas pumps right outside the door. You had vehicles that were out there getting gas at the time. Ya know, if the whole store would have gone up, we don’t know what would have happened."

Apparently, the owner has had problems with the two men before. 

"There’s some back and forth. They take some items off the rack, don’t pay for them."

Rosenbaum said this particular incident started when one of them didn’t pay for an iced tea.

Detectives believe the two suspects live in the neighborhood. They will likely face charges for arson, aggravated assault and theft.

Anyone with information is urged to call 911 or the Northeast Detective Division at 215-686-3153.