Anyone With Information Is Asked To Call Crime Stoppers At (800) 577-TIPS

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A 3-year-old boy was robbed last week in a shocking incident that was caught on surveillance video.

As CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported Wednesday, Darion Boatine is active and playful – a typical toddler. But police said that his curiosity, coupled with a brazen thief, cost his mother $500 last Friday.

Caroline Boatine, 43, was waiting in line Friday morning with her son at the Discount Wines & Liquors store on East 163rd Street in Hunts Point. As she paid, Darion, unbeknownst to her, took the $500 out of her jacket pocket.

When the suspect spotted the boy holding the cash, he walked up to the child, grabbed the money and took off, police said.

The incident happened in broad daylight, and surveillance cameras caught it all.

“I had a lady asking, ‘Are you with this baby?’ I said, ‘Yes, why?’ She said, ‘A guy just robbed money from your son,’” Caroline Boatine said. “I thought it was just a plain old dollar or something. So I put my hands in my pocket, the $500 was gone.”

Boatine was too nervous to show her face on camera, with the thief still on the streets. But she said she simply cannot believe how quickly it all happened.

Surveillance images of a man wanted for allegedly stealing $500 from a 3-year-old boy in the Bronx (credit: NYPD)

Surveillance images of a man wanted for allegedly stealing $500 from a 3-year-old boy in the Bronx (credit: NYPD)

It took only seconds for the child to reach into her pocket and come out with the cash. Less than a minute later, it was gone, and so was the suspect.

“I don’t even know. I don’t even know why — a little boy holding that big money and you grabbing it from his hands, that is very bad,” Boatine said.

The video was not clear enough to show exactly what was in Boatine’s pocket, but she showed CBS 2 a bank receipt showing she went to the ATM and withdrew $500 from her account.

Police called the theft a crime of opportunity, and believe the man saw the child take out the money out of mom’s pocket and locked in on an easy prey.

“Losing $500, it was too much,” Boatine said.

Boatine said she desperately needed the money to pay for Darion’s speech therapy. Now she is hoping police catch the thief — before he spends her money.

The suspect is described by police as a dark-skinned man believed to be in his 30s, about 5-foot-9 and weighing about 240 pounds.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto Crime Stoppers’ website or by texting their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577.

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