(NEW YORK) — More than a dozen women pushing baby strollers were targeted for theft by a Queens, New York couple accused of being what prosecutors called “serial pickpockets.”
Luis Chango and Rosa Jerez were charged with grand larceny, child endangerment and other crimes after the Queens District Attorney’s office said they preyed on women pushing strollers through Carter’s Children’s Store, Gap and other retail outlets where mothers are known to shop.
In one instance, on Sept. 27 in Mandees, prosecutors said Chango stole an iPhone 6 that was being held by a six-month-old.
“It is alleged that the male defendant simply bent over a stroller and pulled a new iPhone out of the hands of the baby playing with it, causing the child to burst out crying,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
In other cases, prosecutors said either Chango or Jerez would distract the women by engaging in conversation while the other stepped in to swipe a phone, a wallet or a purse.
The victims were between the ages of 18 and 38 and, prosecutors said, were targeted between August and this month before the couple’s arrest on Nov. 8.
The couple was released on bail Monday. They are due back in court next month. Chango’s lawyer, Roger Asmar, said his client denied the allegations.
“It’s a bunch of allegations,” Asmar told ABC News. “Nothing has been proved.”
The district attorney said the case served as fair warning for shoppers as stores get more crowded during the holiday shopping season.
“Shoppers should never leave bags or valuables unattended or hanging from strollers and they should always be aware of their surroundings,” Brown said. “A successful pickpocket only needs seconds to accomplish his or her goal of parting you with your valuables.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Recent posts in National News