Terrell Carter

Terrell Carter

MEDIA COURTHOUSE — A homeless man arrested last year for stealing a tip jar from the Darby Free Library before pushing a librarian down a flight of stairs was sentenced Wednesday to two to five years in state prison.

Terrell Carter, 40, entered a negotiated guilty plea Tuesday to one count of robbery while inflicting bodily injury, a second-degree felony. Assistant District Attorney Katie Magee indicated she wanted to defer sentencing a day so that the victim could speak to the court.

The victim declined the offer Wednesday, but did accept Carter’s apology. She said that she does not a hold a grudge, despite suffering back fractures that required outpatient surgery and rehabilitation. She told Carter his actions that day were unacceptable.

The robbery occurred about 10 a.m. July 11, 2018. The librarian told officers she was walking up a flight of steps at the Main Street library when she saw a man running down the steps.

“The male put his hand in her face and pushed her back down the flight of steps causing her to land at the front door,” according to an affidavit of probable cause for Carter’s arrest written by borough Patrolman Joseph C. O’Donnell III.

The librarian told police she believed he had pushed her to prevent anyone from chasing him.

Video surveillance footage showed Carter and the victim meeting in the middle of the stairwell, according to the affidavit. As Carter walked past, the video shows the librarian attempt to stop him. Carter then pushed the librarian down the steps and footage shows her landing back at the front door.

“While (the victim) is still on the ground, you can see that she continues to try and stop the male from exiting the business which causes her to end up outside on the front steps,” the affidavit states, describing the video. “The male was able to get around (the victim) and exit the business.”

Another witness saw a man running from the library with a water jug headed for the trolley loop. As he passed by the witness, he was placing the jug — used by the library as a tip jar — in a green trash bag, according to the affidavit.

Carter, who frequented the library and even had a library card on file, was not hard to identify. But with no fixed address, investigators had to rely on tips from the public about possible locations he could be found.

Those tips finally led to Carter’s capture July 31 at the corner of Broad and Lehigh streets in Philadelphia, where law enforcement including borough detectives, SEPTA police and investigators from multiple Philadelphia detective precincts had been watching for him.

In addition to prison time, Delaware County Common Pleas Court Judge Mary Alice Brennan ordered Carter to submit a DNA sample to state police and pay restitution of $600 – $300 to the library and $300 to the victim.

Carter, represented by defense attorney Stephen Patrizio, is not eligible for early release but was given credit for time served back to July 31, 2018.

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