A 15-year-old who terrorized elderly victims in a series of east Bronx chain snatchings was under arrest, in what police called a hate crime pattern.
Targeting anyone 60-years-old or over qualifies under New York State penal law as a hate crime.
Detective Bobby Rogers of the 45th Precinct detective squad, who has made other hate-crime arrests this year, arrested the teenr on Tuesday, June 25.
According to a police source, the suspect, who lives in the Throgs Neck Houses, admitted to targeting elderly women in four chain snatchings because he did not want to have to wind up struggling with the targeted victim.
He was charged with four counts of third degree robbery as a hate crime, though one of the victims was actually not yet 60-years-old.
“He said he was targeting older women because it was easy for him to get away with it,” the police source said. “He didn’t want to rob a younger person because he did not want to have a confrontation or fight.”
The perp was originally brought in by an anti-crime unit on June 15, but was not charged in another chain snatching because the alleged victim declined to press charges, the police source said.
However, the case seemed similar to a chain snatching with an 88-year-old victim outside of Fort Schuyler House at 3077 Cross Bronx Expressway on Wednesday, April 10. In that incident, a 25-year-old allegedly witnessed the robbery and was able to identify the suspect after he was re-arrested.
“Most of the victims in these cases weren’t able to identify this kid because they are so old,” said the source. “They are over 80-years-old.”
Police suspect the 15-year-old and possible accomplices in two other crimes, but the arrest closed out the hate crime pattern.
Police said in addition to the first chain snatching , a 58-year-old woman victim was attacked on Thursday, June 20 near 823 Throgs Neck Blvd., a 83-year-old woman at Kennelworth Place and Spencer Drive on Saturday, June 22 in Country Club, and an hour later, an 86-year-old at Roberts and Hobart avenue in Pelham Bay.
All the crimes occurred during daylight, between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
The victims suffered minor bruises on their necks but did not sustain more serious injuries.
Because of his age, the youth was charged as a juvenile and his case sent to Bronx Family Court.
“Back in the 1970s, it was like every day you used to hear about chain snatchings,” said Al Carena, Spencer Estate Civic Association president. “You rarely hear about them anymore.”
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 742-3393