Victim writes letter thanking NYPD officers for arresting man targeting seniors in robbery spree

Jim Dolan Image
Wednesday, February 21, 2024
Exclusive: Victim speaks out after NYPD arrests man targeting senior citizens
Jim Dolan has the story.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A man has been arrested after police say he targeted, robbed and sometimes attacked senior citizens - as many as five victims - and now one of them is thanking the keen-eyed officers who spotted and arrested the suspect.

It all started on a subway station stairway at rush hour.

"I was halfway up the steps when I felt jostled and held on to the railing, and someone, I noticed, put their hand in my pocketbook and took my wallet," victim Ellie Colin said.

The ordeal was scary for Colin, who reported the incident to police, but with all that's going on in the subways, she never thought they would catch the man who robbed her.

"Never in a million years, I thought 'oh my god, with all the things going on in this city right now, why in the world would anyone even care about a woman with a lost wallet," she said.

Police believed the man who robbed Colin, robbed at least three other people, including a 90-year-old woman and an 83-year-old man. So officers were keeping an eye out.

"It was very important to us because this person was targeting elderly, so it was a priority to get this individual," said NYPD Sgt. Juan Hernandez.

Hernandez and Officer Jasmine Roman patrol the subways together. Last week, they saw the man from the photograph jump a turnstile right in front of them.

"Once we approached him, we realized this was the same guy we've been looking for, so immediately we placed him under arrest," Hernandez said.

Colin was shocked that they made an arrest. When she reported it, she says the police listened and took her story seriously. They guided her through the maze of paperwork, and then closed the case.

So, she wrote a letter thanking the officers. This time, it was the officers who were surprised.

"We don't see that often so that's one that's going to stand out for my career, and something I'll always look back on," Roman said.

"to actually meet her face to face, it was really special, she's an amazing lady so I'm pretty happy we were able to help her out," Hernandez said.

"This is what cops do every single day, this is just one other example," said NYPD Chief Michael Kemper. "They help people, they deliver justice to people and they make arrests and arrest bad people."

Elijah Gay, 22, was charged with five felonies and is being held on $10,000 bail.

"I don't feel our policemen are getting enough appreciation for how they put their lives on the line for us and especially how kind they were to me," Colin said.


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