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'Serial Pickpocket' Arrested for Stealing from Women With Strollers

By Katie Honan | July 25, 2014 2:30pm | Updated on July 28, 2014 9:00am
 The suspect allegedly stole from six different victims, mostly women.
The suspect allegedly stole from six different victims, mostly women.
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ELMHURST — An accused serial pickpocket from The Bronx targeted women with strollers all over Queens — even holding open a door for one woman before stealing from her, the DA's office said.

Walter Del Rosario, 49, of Hunts Point, allegedly stole wallets and cell phones from victims in seven different stores and restaurants over a nine-month span in 2013 and 2014, with the most recent theft in May at Lucid Cafe in Woodside, according to the criminal complaint.

In all but one case, his victims were women and, in the majority of instances, he stole items right from strollers. 

Surveillance video captured Del Rosario grabbing a cell phone out of a woman's pocketbook, which was hanging off her stroller, after he held the door for her at the Panera Bread in the Rego Center Mall on Aug. 26, 2013, the DA said. 

Video also allegedly caught him taking a wallet and cell phone from a shopper's stroller inside a Target on Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst on Oct. 18, 2013, and from a woman pushing a stroller at a sports store in Rego Park on Nov. 6.

"It is alleged that the defendant targeted victims with strollers or approached victims while their minds were preoccupied on matters other than their immediate surroundings," said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

Del Rosario was also allegedly captured on surveillance video four other times, with the last alleged theft on May 17 from a woman who took her eyes off her cellphone while studying at Lucid Cafe in Woodside.

His lawyer, however, said his client has alibis for some of the dates of the alleged thefts and the surveillance video is "poor quality."

"Most of the case relies on surveillance tape, I haven't seen all of it, but I have seen some of it," said Joseph Schioppi.

"You couldn't identify your own mother if you wanted to."

Schioppi said he feels the NYPD is trying to "close out as many cases as they possibly can" and have tied his client to surveillance video that shows another person of similar ethnicity or build.

Del Rosario was arraigned in Queens criminal court on Wednesday and faces up to 22 years in prison if convicted.

He was being held in lieu of $14,500 bail or $27,000 bond.