Police search for person wanted in connection to Rhawnhurst man found dead, tied to bed

KYW Staff
November 06, 2019 - 4:59 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Philadelphia Police Department is offering a $20,000 reward leading to the arrest of an individual who authorities believe is connected to a Rhawnhurst homicide earlier this week.

Police released surveillance video depicting a person walking through the victim’s home. 

Officers responded to a call from a neighbor around 10:30 p.m. Monday. When they arrived to the scene on Algon Avenue, they found a 59-year-old man partially tied to the bed with a massive head wound and several slashes to his chest. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police say a woman was seen leaving the house prior to their arrival.

The person in the video is seen wearing a black jacket, a long-sleeve pink top, red sweatpants and white shoes. The individual's gender is unknown. 

Friends of the victim later identified him as Al Chernoff, a beloved city servant, veteran and animal advocate. Chernoff was known as an avid cat lover and rescued dozens of cats, alongside animal shelters like ACCT Philly.

Al Chernoff
Courtesy of David J. Levin

"Al wouldn't even kill a spider," said his cousin, David Levin. "He would capture a spider and let it loose outside his house. He had a lot of cats, this week he had 11 cats. He's had pigs, turtles, frogs. The man loved animals."

The SPCA chimed in, saying the "animal welfare community lost one of its own." They're taking in most of his cats.

Levin and his family set up a GoFundMe initially to help pay for Chernoff's funeral costs, and blew past their goal right away.

"I'm blown away that he's touched so many people. I think it's amazing," he added. 

Now, he says they're hoping to take most if not all of the money raised and give it to the animal rescue community. 

The investigation is ongoing.

To submit a tip to police regarding the individual in the video, call 215-686-8477 or text a tip to 773847.


KYW Newsradio's Andrew Kramer contributed to this report.