ELMHURST — The fake cab driver seen on surveillance footage tossing a woman's baby to the ground and elbowing her toddler in the head was arrested Friday morning, according to the NYPD.
Police believe that Pedro Vargas, 46, of Yonkers, posed as a cab driver to pick up the 26-year-old woman and her three kids, ages 1, 3 and 5, at 3 a.m. Sunday in Inwood and drive them to Elmhurst.
He became violent once he stopped the car behind 7900 Queens Blvd., the former Pan Am Hotel and currently the site of a homeless shelter, the NYPD said.
A video camera footage released by police shows Vargas toss the 3-year-old child to the ground, elbow the 5-year-old in the head, knocking her over, and force the mom, who was holding her 1-year-old, out of the car.
Vargas and the victim fought as the children looked on and then he drove away as the mother — who held one of her children by the arm — held onto the open passenger door, video shows.
The children were taken to Elmhurst Hospital with minor injuries, police said. A spokesman for the Department of Homeless Services said the agency is focusing on making sure the family "has the right support structure in place to deal with this crisis."
Officials said the shelter in the former hotel has cameras and 24-hour security.
Vargas was charged with two counts of felony assault, misdemeanor assault and endangering the welfare of a child, according to police.
It's not clear when he is expected in court, and information on a lawyer was not immediately available.