Diamonds Snatched in Center City

Morning headlines: Man was carrying $348,000 of stones in his shoulder bag when it was stolen.

Good morning, Philadelphia. Here’s what you need to know today:

Thieves got away with $348,000 worth of diamonds in a Center City snatch-and-grab theft.

There was no armored truck, no daring overnight heist of a Jeweler’s Row store, no black masks, cracked safes, and debonair thieves. What happened, NBC 10 reports, is this: At 6 p.m. Tuesday, a 44-year-old man was walking near 11th and Sansom carrying a diamond-filled shoulder bag when two other men approached, grabbed the bag from his arm, and fled. One suspect was described only as wearing a red jacket. The other was bearded, 5’10”, and wearing a black hat and brown jacket.

Temple University finished one of its finest-ever football seasons with a loss in the Boca Raton Bowl.

The Owls lost to Toledo, 32-17, and finish the season 10-4. “I’m never going to shake my head at winning 10 games,” Coach Matt Rhule told AP. “But we didn’t finish the way we wanted to finish.” Temple had averaged 31 points a game during the season but didn’t score a touchdown Tuesday night until three minutes were left in the game. It was a disappointing end to an otherwise-great season.  “There’s a little bit of anger, a little bit of sadness,” Temple defensive lineman Matt Ioannidis told AP. “Pretty much all the emotions at this point.”

Mayor Nutter has ordered City Hall to resume some contacts with federal immigration authorities, angering Philly’s Latino activists.

Al Día reports that the city will notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials if police are holding a person A) suspected of terrorism or espionage, B) convicted of first-degree felonies like murder and rape, or C) if it’s releasing a person with a prior conviction on those felonies. Erika Almiron of the group Vamos Juntos said the new order will undermine immigrant trust in local police. “It’s three days before Christmas,” she told the mayor. “What we don’t understand is how you can think that this is any different from another dragnet program that in the end will impact our community.” reports Nutter’s response: “This has nothing to do with dragnets or snatching people up off the street,” he said. “These are folks who are already in custody.” Mayor-elect Jim Kenney has said he will reverse Nutter’s action upon taking office.

A new layer of accountability: Pennsylvania State Police will independently review all shootings involving the Philadelphia Police Department. 

The decision was announced Tuesday, NewsWorks reports, to guard against bias — and strengthen public confidence — in the conclusions found by investigators in such cases. “It has nothing to do with our being capable of doing it,” outgoing Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said. “But the perception is that it’s biased because it is internal. And our responsibility is to see to it that we can do as much as possible to guarantee to the public that it is objective.” The police department’s internal affairs division will have a secondary role in investigations, but state officials will write the final report.

Let’s try this again: There might be hope yet — really! — for the Pennsylvania state budget.

At this point, the first rule of state budgeting news is that there is no good news — and you’re a sucker if you think otherwise. With that caveat out of the way: There might be some good news on the state budget front! PennLive reports that on Tuesday, a coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans in the Pa. House got behind a spending bill that conforms to the $30.8 billion budget deal agreed to by Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican leaders weeks ago‚ and seemingly left for dead by House Republicans. There are still other parts of the agreement to pass, however, before the budget becomes law — but officials appear to be hopeful. “I’m pleased with the progress that was made in the House today,” Wolf said. “I think we’re a step closer to the budget that we all want. We still have a ways to go, but this was a nice step in the right direction.”

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