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Lowest of the low: Man steals 92-year-old man's glasses and Bible in Manhattan

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 14th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

New York City has seen it all - but this recent incident has sent hardest officers cringing. A young man pushed down a frail, 92-year-old man pushed to the ground. The attacker then absconded with the victim's glasses and bible. Police are offering a reward for information leading to the suspect's capture.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A video of the suspect wanted for assaulting 92-year-old Ricardo Velez has since been released.

Velez, a devout Jehovah's Witness said he had just finished dinner with a friend when a heartless bandit followed him into the W. 18th St. building and knocked him to the ground shortly before midnight on Monday.

"I saw him push me," Velez said Thursday from his bed at Bellevue Hospital, where he is recovering from a broken hip. "I fell on my hip on the right side and was trying to get up, but I couldn't. I opened the second door and started yelling, 'Help! Help!'"

The suspect reportedly trailed Velez into his W. 18th St. apartment about 11:25 p.m. Wednesday and shoved him to the ground, police sources said.

The goon then swiped a bag containing the Velez's bible and a pair of spectacles and bolted.  injured his hip during the incident.

Police are offering a $12,000 reward leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect, who was captured on video. He was wearing a red hat, black T-shirt and walking with a limp.

According to the Federal Bureau of Information, since the elderly are a growing part of the U.S. population, many are susceptible to both violent - and nonviolent crime. In addition to being prey for pickpockets and burglars, many seniors are swindled out of their savings by total strangers.

Senior citizens, the FBI says are most likely to have a "nest egg," to own their home, and/or to have excellent credit-all of which make them attractive to con artists.

In addition, people who grew up in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s were generally raised to be polite and trusting. Criminals exploit these traits, knowing that it is difficult or impossible for these individuals to say "no" or just hang up the telephone.

Being elderly puts people at a disadvantage as many wish to maintain their independence in lieu of sacrificing their privacy to 24-hour care. Older Americans are less likely to report a fraud because they don't know who to report it to, are too ashamed at having been scammed, or don't know they have been scammed. Elderly victims may not report crimes, for example, because they are concerned that relatives may think the victims no longer have the mental capacity to take care of their own financial affairs.

Furthermore, when an elderly victim does report the crime, they often make poor witnesses. Criminals know the effects of age on memory, and they are counting on elderly victims not being able to supply enough detailed information to investigators. In addition, the victims' realization that they have been robbed may take weeks, or even months after contact with the fraudster. This extended time frame makes it even more difficult to remember details from the events.

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