Police had been looking for 60-year-old Diomedes Nunez after he was caught on surveillance cameras reaching into strollers and grabbing wallets at Whole Foods stores in TriBeCa and on the Upper West Side, according to a criminal complaint from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
In the first incident, Nunez lifted a wallet — which held a credit card, a Social Security card and about $200 cash — from a woman’s stroller inside the Whole Foods at 101 Warren St. about 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 7, prosecutors said.
Nunez struck again on Sept. 23, when he snatched another wallet from a stroller inside of Whole Foods' 808 Columbus Circle store at about 2:30 p.m., authorities said. The wallet held credit cards and $40 cash.
Police caught Nunez after spotting him selling untaxed cigarettes outside the Whole Foods in Union Square at 11:50 a.m. Oct. 21, police said. Officers recognized him from the surveillance footage of the earlier thefts and arrested him.
Nunez was charged with grand larceny, a felony, and released, according to officials. He is due back in court on Feb. 3, 2015. His attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Whole Foods referred questions to the NYPD.
Other recent crimes that occurred in the 13th Precinct include:
► A man chased down his attackers after he was punched and robbed in Union Square last week, police said.
The victim was talking on his cellphone near 33 E. 17th St. at 6:25 p.m. on Oct. 23, when 21-year-old Gage Quinones suddenly punched him in the face, knocking the phone out of his hand, police said.
Quinones then grabbed $100 cash from the victim's pants pocket, picked up the victim's phone and fled with accomplice David Park, 30, according to police.
The victim followed the thieves and, with the help of a bystander, tried to grab Quinones, police said. Park jumped on the bystander's back in an attempt to free Quinones, police said.
Quinones and Park were both charged with robbery. Park pleaded not guilty and was not even aware that Quinones had robbed someone, according to Lance Clarke, Park's attorney.
"Mr. Park was no part of the robbery," Clarke said. "I was under the impression that he just saw someone attacking his friend [Quinones]."
Quinones and Park are due back in court on Oct. 29. Quinones' attorney did not respond to a request for comment.