- Associated Press - Saturday, October 31, 2020

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Police were called to an explosion at a cash machine at a closed convenience store in northeast Philadelphia, the latest in a rash of such blasts amid civil unrest in the city over the past week.

WPVI reports that the blast was reported at the automated teller machine inside a Wawa in the Mayfair neighborhood just before 7 a.m. Saturday. The store had been boarded up after widespread robberies amid unrest following the shooting death of Walter Wallace Jr. by police officers.

Police told the station that the suspect broke into the store through a rear door, and an explosive device was placed under the ATM and ignited. But, police said, the money in the ATM had already been stolen earlier in the week.

Authorities said 1,000 people broke into stores to steal merchandise this week, 50 police were injured and 22 attempts made to steal ATM machines, often through the use of low-grade explosives. On Thursday, two men were charged after state prosecutors said explosives and tools commonly used to break into ATMs were found in a van.

Police said 27-year-old Wallace, whose family said he had mental health problems, was shot outside his home Monday after ignoring orders to drop a knife.

Earlier this year, dozens of cash machines in the city were hit by explosives and a 24-year-old man died after one attempt to break into an ATM. The rash of attempted thefts occurred during civil unrest after George Floyd died in Minneapolis after a police officer pressed his knee into his neck as he pleaded for air.

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