Store Presents 93-Year-Old Victim With Check To Replace $600 That Was Stolen

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A suspect was arrested Friday in connection with a robbery of a 93-year-old woman that was caught on surveillance video in East Harlem.

As CBS2’s Sonia Rincon reported, police found and picked up the suspect Friday morning after finding clues through surveillance video.

Broyoan Lopez, 26, was charged with robbery, grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property, according to police.

Lopez had no words, hanging his head down and ignoring reporters’ questions as he was led out of the 25th Precinct stationhouse Friday morning, CBS2’s Janelle Burrell.

Police said Lopez was seen on surveillance video reaching into 93-year-old Maria Vasquez’s bra as she sat in her wheelchair Wednesday inside of Regines clothing store on 116th Street and grabbing an envelope filled with $600 cash.

Police also saw allegedly saw Lopez on video at the bank where she cashed her check, and say he followed her – having seen where she put the cash.

On Friday, Vasquez was wheeled back to the scene of the crime. This time, she was back in the store to gratefully accept a gift of $600 from Regines, along with a pair of shoes that her home health attendant was helping her shop for when the thief took advantage, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.

Speaking in Spanish, Vasquez said the young man was very fresh reaching under her shirt in such a fashion.

Vasquez said the man yanked her arm and scratched her chest when he grabbed the cash, but she was not seriously hurt.

She said God gave the man his two arms to work hard, not to rob helpless people.

The incident enraged people in the East Harlem neighborhood.

“Just shows you the community don’t stand for that,” said resident Rolando Sierra. “That could be anybody’s mother.”

The store had recently installed the high-resolution security camera, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported. There was even a security guard.

The store’s co-owner said he has never seen a crime so brazen.

“it’s horrible – horrible,” said Regines co-owner Josh Cohen. “I don’t know how people would do that, something like that.”

“I hope he gets his ass whooped, you know?” another man said. “I know in prison, they don’t allow that, you know? They don’t like the old people getting robbed like, that could be anybody’s mother.”

But many people have come forward wanting to help Vasquez, Cohen said.

“I believe we got phone calls from a lot of places, even as far away as Belize and other places in Central America,” Cohen said. “We put them in touch with the bank.”

The bank is the Banco Popular where she cashed that check, which is collecting any donations for her.

Vasquez said she just needs to pay her rent and bills. She left the store this time with the money in her daughter’s purse.

“At her age, she has to enjoy every moment she has,” Cohen said.

One of the managers, named William, said it was the least they can do for a woman they call a wonderful, regular customer.

“Very regular customer who has been shopping here for years,” he said.

Law enforcement told CBS2 this was Lopez’s first arrest, and they tracked him down with surveillance video from the bank. He apparently made a transaction using his own account.