PORT RICHMOND — A man was charged with a hate crime for assaulting an armless man and stealing his cellphone on Staten Island, District Attorney Michael McMahon announced.
Vincent Popalardo, 20, was indicted on 12 charges for the November robbery of the 18-year-old man who was born without arms, McMahon said.
"This defendant targeted the victim because of his disability, which shows that these actions were in fact hate crimes under the state’s statute," McMahon said in a statement.
"All crimes are unacceptable, but those committed against an individual because of his or her disability are particularly despicable."
On Nov. 20, the victim was talking on his cellphone outside the Dunkin Donuts at 1351 Forest Ave. while waiting for a friend with his phone placed on a ledge, police said.
Three people — two men and a woman — approached the victim and asked him for money. A fourth came from behind and snatched his phone, the New York Daily News reported.
The victim chased after him but was surrounded by the three people who pushed him around and tried to search his pockets for money, according to police and the Daily News.
Popalardo was arrested on Jan. 6 in Erie, Pa., McMahon said.
Two other people were also arrested and are being separately charged, the DA said.
Popalardo was arraigned on Wednesday. His bail was increased from $50,000 to $100,000, the DA said.
His lawyer could not be reached for comment.