Investigators arrest serial pickpocketer flying under the radar since 1985

Darla Miles Image
Friday, August 18, 2023
Investigators arrest serial pickpocketer flying under the radar since 1985
Working beyond the average retirement age of 64 apparently is not any different for thieves. Darla Miles has the details.

TIMES SQUARE, Manhattan (WABC) -- Working beyond the average retirement age of 64 apparently is not any different for thieves - accused serial pickpocketing suspect Maria Garzon Vasquez is pushing 70.

"She's older, but that's what we're seeing posing as families. This is what we're seeing this year," said James Soares of the NYPD Transit Bureau Pickpocket Unit.

The NYPD says the 68-year-old, originally from Colombia, has been flying under the radar since 1985. On Thursday afternoon, she was spotted in Flushing.

"They see what they believe is her out in the field, and they conduct surveillance on her," added Soares.

Officers in the newly formed NYPD Pickpocket Unit, which is less than a year old, recognized her from wanted posters from larcenies in Queens and Brooklyn.

"She was very surprised because there's thousands of uniformed cops out here and what you don't see is the plainclothes component," Soares added.

Police say Vazquez had her hands on the handbag of another elderly person when she was arrested.

The unit is credited with bringing down pickpocketing worldwide.

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