Fighting terror at home

Forget al-Qaeda.

Yes, we are still engaged in conflict in Iraq. And increasingly we look at the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan and their role in aiding and fomenting the terrorist element intent on bringing down the United States.

But you don’t have to go to the Middle East to find terrorist elements that threaten our way of life.

Sometimes all you have to do is visit your local Dunkin’ Donuts.

Upper Darby police yesterday asked for the public’s help in tracking down what top cop Mike Chitwood referred to as a group of “urban street terrorists” who are believed responsible for a series of recent brazen daytime armed holdups at the popular local coffee outlets.

Police released a harrowing surveillance video that depicts one of these thugs leaping over the counter and sticking a gun in the face of a female employee, then knocking her to the floor.

Police believe this group is responsible for hitting three local Dunkin’ Donuts outlets, including two in West Philadelphia. Chitwood says they also hit an Upper Darby Pizza Hut.

Ironically, the Dunkin’ Donuts that was the site of the latest armed heist has a farely well-known daily customer. That’s where Chitwood goes to get his java fix.

The Upper Darby top cop fears that if this gang is not apprehended – and soon – someone is going to be seriously hurt or even killed. He points out that it was just such an instance in Philadelphia where Officer Chuck Cassidy walked in on a holdup and was shot and killed by an armed robber.

“Anybody can walk in,” the chief said.

Chitwood, famous for labeling those who commit crimes on his turf as “scumbags,” has an even sterner warning in this case.

“These guys are street terrorists, plain and simple,” Chitwood said.

And they are here, on our streets, in our neighborhoods. No one is going to forget the war in Iraq, or in Afghanistan.

At the same time, maybe it’s time we started to pay more attention to the war in Upper Darby, and every other town endangered by this new-wave style of terrorism.