Muggers mistakenly hail unmarked cop car

December 4, 2008 3:33:36 PM PST
Two suspected muggers are under arrest this morning after they mistook a police car for their getaway cab, authorities said. Now their elderly victim is fighting for her life. Grandma is what many people in the neighborhood call Olga Nazario.

Another name is the Hallelujah Lady. Nazario is a deeply religious woman. And so the outrage over what happened on Tuesday afternoon. The 70-year old was mugged as she got off an elevator in the Baychester houses.

She was visiting relatives in the Bronx Tuesday afternoon when two young men got on an elevator with her, police said.

When she got out, the attackers pushed her down, beat her and kicked her, leaving her groceries strewn all over the floor. A resident heard Nazario's screams and called 911, and the suspects fled with her wallet.

The two men ran about a block, then noticed a light blue car and thought it was a livery cab, so they stopped, breathless on the street, and tried to hail it, police said. Instead, plainclothes officers responding to the scene got out of the car and asked for identification. One of the suspects accidentally pulled out the Nazario's wallet and ID and then said he had just found it on the street, according to Joanne Jaffe, chief of the NYPD's Housing Bureau.

The two suspects, both 21, were arrested as she was brought out on a stretcher. The ambulance stopped near the car, and the Nazario identified the suspects, Jaffe said.

Nazario was recovering at North Central Bronx Hospital. She suffered a concussion, a bruised shoulder and ribs when she was pushed to the ground and kicked.

Michael Jordan and Antoine Mitchell were arrested on charges of assault and robbery. There was no telephone listing for Mitchell, and a number for Jordan went unanswered Wednesday.

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