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Angels keep watch over Hazleton streets

| Saturday, March 16, 2013, 2:36 p.m.

Angels surrounded Hazleton police Chief Frank DeAndrea on Friday night as he stood on the corner of North Wyoming and West Broad Street.

The angels came to Hazleton from Wilkes-Barre dressed in red satin jackets and berets.

Jason Weston, Pennsylvania regional director for the Alliance of Guardian Angels, and four members of the Wilkes-Barre chapter of the internationally-recognized citizen safety patrol joined DeAndrea and Hazleton area Guardian Angel Vilmarie Budde for a walk along North Wyoming Street.

“We are trying to garner support for the Guardian Angels, who so graciously called us and offered to come to Hazleton,” DeAndrea explained as he walked with the group on the Wyoming Street circuit.

Moving as a group, the angels lingered at each cross street, observing the movement of people in each neighborhood until a sharp clap of 1st Lt. Chris Wolfe's leather-gloved hands signaled the group to move forward to the next block.

“This is what they do. They watch, then they move to another location,” DeAndrea said.

“We're a visual deterrent. You can see us coming from three or four blocks away,” Weston said. “If a kid is trying to break into a car and he looks up and sees us coming, he's going to stop and run away. That's a crime that didn't happen.”

The angels are trained in their organization's protocol. They travel in groups of at least four members, and they carry cellphones and flashlights. They do not carry guns. They're trained in first-aid, CPR and self defense.

“We're volunteers, we're not vigilantes. We're the good guys, we're not the bad guys. We want to show people it's OK to stand up as citizens of the community,” Wolfe said.

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