Arrest in attacks on elderly women in Washington Heights

August 22, 2013 7:55:34 PM PDT
Police arrested a man wanted in at least three attacks and purse snatchings of elderly women in Washington Heights.

She doesn't look 70 years old, but Cristina Urena may have been targeted by a purse snatcher because of her age.

She says she was walking down the hallway in her Washington Heights building Tuesday morning around 10:30 when she passed a younger man standing in the hallway.

"I came down to the middle of the hallway, I thought he was taking the elevator he grabbed my bag. And that's the only thing," Urena said.

Eyewitness News showed her surveillance video obtained exclusively of two other women who were mercilessly dragged down the stairs.

It happened just two hours later and a few blocks away from where she was robbed.

"The police detectives came last night, and told me they caught him because after me there were other assaults," Urena said.

Police say the man in the surveillance video is 25-year-old Richard Davidson.

He's been charged with robbery and grand larceny for stealing the purses of 93-year-old Marjorie Ramondetta and her 65-year-old daughter, Linda Reynolds. They are the victims in a second incident.

"My mother was born September 20, 1919 in the house," Linda Reynolds said.

That's why Linda Reynolds took her 93-year mother Marjorie Ramondetta to the building on Amsterdam Avenue in Washington Heights on Tuesday afternoon.

She wanted to see the apartment she grew in one last time. Instead of a trip down memory lane, they both got a violent trip down a marble flight of stairs.

"This is so sore, all the way down to here," Marjorie Ramondetta said, pointing along the side of her body.

Surveillance video, obtained exclusively by Eyewitness News, shows a suspect grabbing their handbags with the mother and daughter duo tumbling down the stairs face first.

"He grabbed my strap. He grabbed her strap and started yanking," Reynolds said.

"I held on to that stupid pocketbook and he just pulled it all the way down," Ramondetta said. "It's a crazy world. It surely isn't the same as it used to be."

Reynolds says they were outside taking pictures of their old building and wanted to get into her mom's old 2nd floor apartment to take a peek.

That's when the suspect lured them to the second floor landing and snatched their bags.

"I asked if he lived there and he said. I asked what floor to you live on and he said second floor. Bingo! That's the floor where my mom was raised," Reynolds said.

Reynolds is black and blue across her back. The grandmother of three and great grandmother of five has bumps and bruises on her arms and hip, but luckily no broken bones. The spunky senior has a message for her attacker.

"You're sick. What's the point of trying to kill him the way that he tried to kill us. I don't know," Ramondetta said.

The third victim was a 63-year-old woman on the A-train.

In that case, police say he ran up to the street and was arrested a block away trying to get into a livery cab.

Sources say Davidson has 21 prior arrests.