Arrest made in robbery of elderly woman in wheelchair

August 4, 2011 4:04:11 AM PDT
The mother of a teenage suspect wanted for robbing an elderly woman in a wheelchair knew what she saw while watching the news.

Surveillance video released by police showed a suspect caught in the act in Brooklyn. The mother was watching TV with her son and realized he resembled the suspect.

Now, 18-year-old high school student Cody Santiago is under arrest.

Police say it was him who was caught snatching a purse right out of the hands of the elderly wheelchair-bound woman.

"He took my pocketbook and run away, ran away," victim Catalina Mateo said.

Santiago reportedly sat in his Bushwick home, watching the news with his mother, when she recognized him. She urged him to turn himself in. Instead, investigators say, he ran.

When he finally came back, officers were waiting and took him into custody.

The surveillance video shows the suspect seconds after he first casually passes Mateo as she headed home. But the suspect then doubles back, reaches into the wheelchair and runs off with the 76-year-old's purse.

In it was no more than $15 in cash.

Mateo said she didn't resist because she was afraid of getting hurt.

"I'm afraid," she said. "I'm nervous, but I can't do nothing.I need money. He took my little money."

Santiago was arrested just hours after his wanted poster was released. Sources say he has prior arrests for sexual abuse and theft.

"If he has heart, it is a stone," Mateo said. "Like a stone, right?"

Santiago is being questioned by police. Charges are pending.