Peruto means business

Chuck Peruto
Image: Courtesy of Chuck Peruto

In my column here last week, Republican candidate for Philadelphia district attorney Charles “Chuck” Peruto vowed that he would “kick Krasner’s ass” in the general election if incumbent D.A. Larry Krasner defeats challenger Carlos Vega in the May 18 Democratic primary election. 

Peruto, who has been a practicing attorney in the city for more than 40 years, was born and raised in the Overbrook section of West Philadelphia. He attended St. Callistus Parochial School until the eighth grade, and then spent a year in the Catholic Seminary studying to be a priest. Realizing that wasn’t his true calling, he attended and graduated St. Joseph’s University and earned his law degree from Delaware Law School. 

“I have helped many people who I believed in, pro bono, and I have had a very successful living in the general practice of law with a concentration on criminal defense,” Peruto stated on his website. 

“While this might scare some people, since our current district attorney is touted as being a former criminal defense attorney, he was not. Larry Krasner was a civil rights attorney who specialized in suing the police department.     

“He has been quoted as saying after his election that ‘I am now a public defender with power!’ That is not me, and never will be. That is why my committee will be formed of several former prosecutors, police officers, and business owners – all of whom understand the need for public safety.” 

Peruto said he means business. 

“When I say business, I mean a safer city will bring more business in and will make property values rise. It also means the way I’ll deal with criminals.”    

…and now you’re going to say that people can come in and do their Christmas shoplifting at their store and the worst thing that can happen is they will get a ticket. 

– Chuck Peruto

I mentioned to Peruto that many store owners complain that shoplifters were not being prosecuted by the current D.A. I asked Peruto if he would prosecute shoplifters more vigorously than Krasner.

“Absolutely,” he said. 

“You have businesses and store owners who have already taken it as much as they can. They are getting destroyed by the pandemic, the protest violence and the looting, which isn’t getting prosecuted, and now you’re going to say that people can come in and do their Christmas shoplifting at their store and the worst thing that can happen is they will get a ticket. 

“That is bullshit. The Pennsylvania legislature said we are going to let you have a summary offense on your first offense, but your second is a misdemeanor and your third is a felony. Because you are crippling these businesses. As the chief law enforcement officer of the county, you have to protect your businesses. 

“Because if you don’t protect your businesses, the only way we are going to get tax revenue is by taxing homeowners. And that drives people out of the city into the suburbs. We want to have a larger tax base, so everybody is paying a little bit of taxes instead of a few paying a lot.”

Peruto noted that under the Krasner administration, quality-of-life crimes, such as puncturing automobile tires, smashing car windows to steal a radio or personal belongings, graffiti, and vandalism, are not prosecuted. He said these types of quality-of-life crimes will be heard at the police station closest to the incident, with an intended partnership with our Philadelphia Municipal Court.

I asked Peruto what he thought of Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.

“Police Commissioner Outlaw is just not equipped for a city of this size. The police commissioner must – and I mean must – rise up the ranks of the Philadelphia Police Department,” Peruto said. 

“You have to know the district you’re in. You have to know the different areas, where the high crimes are, and know who is pulling your leg. There are a lot of cops right under her, pulling her leg so they can advance themselves. It is human nature. If you’ve risen through the ranks, they can’t bullshit you. 

“Mayor Kenney will not release the reins on a police commissioner. He has them do things he wants them to do, or he will fire them.” 

The city would be better off with Moe, Larry and Curley.

– Chuck Peruto

He said that former Police Commissioner Richard Ross had too much interference from Mayor Jim Kenney, who he claims has no knowledge or experience in law enforcement. 

As I noted in my previous column, Peruto has the support of Mike Chitwood, Ron Castille and other major figures in law enforcement. I told Peruto that the Philly cops I’ve spoken don’t believe that Kenney, Krasner and Outlaw truly support them.

“The city would be better off with Moe, Larry and Curley,” Peruto said. 

“Beyond a reasonable doubt, I will get the support of the cops. We have a terrible mayor and a terrible D.A., and the working guy is getting clobbered.”

Paul Davis’ Crime Beat column appears here week. You can contact him via

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  • Paul Davis

    Having worked as a crime reporter and columnist in Philadelphia for many years, Paul Davis has covered organized crime, cybercrime, street crime, white collar crime, crime prevention, espionage and terrorism. He can be reached at

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