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Suspect ID'd in robbery of elderly, wheelchair-bound woman

Adrianne Terry  

CBS New York

NEW YORK -- Police have identified a suspect who they say is seen on surveillance video stealing an 85-year-old woman’s purse as she satin her wheelchair in New York City.

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Bernice Starnes

CBS New York

Investigators are asking for the public’s help in finding 37-year-old Adrianne Terry in connection with the incident, which happened Sunday afternoon in the Bronx, reports CBS New York.

Bernice Starnes said she was sitting in her wheelchair in the Bronx at around 2:15 p.m., when another woman walked up and the two began chatting.

“She said ‘Hello’ and then we said, ‘It’s a beautiful day,’” Starnes said. “She said, ‘It sure is’ and that’s when she grabbed my bag and ran down the street.”

Police said the suspect was seen on surveillance video snatching the bag and taking off. The purse contained cash and a bank card, police said. 

“She grab my pocketbook and I said, ‘Bring my pocketbook back here’ so I tried to get out of my wheelchair to try to run after her,” Starnes said.

Starnes is described by her neighbors as a nice person who many have nicknamed “grandma” or “Miss Lady.” One neighbor told CBS New York she sees Starnes outside the building every morning.

Monday morning, officers from the 48th precinct, Starnes’s local patrol, donated $130 to help offset the money taken from her.

The gesture brought Starnes to tears.

“That’s why they’re New York’s best,” she said.

The incident an unrelated robbery last week when police said surveillance video captured a man allegedly stealing $600 from an elderly woman’s bra as she sat in a wheelchair in Manhattan.

Despite the similarities between the two incidents, New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Monday that there is not a spike in crimes against the elderly.

“The public gets outraged about that, and appropriately so,” he said. “But on the positive side, it really does bring the public forward, helping us to find these people.”

Police said susoect Terry has 10 prior arrests dating back to the late 1990s, most of them for criminal possession of controlled substances, the station reported.

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782), visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.