A 62-year-old Roosevelt man was charged with thefts as a hate crime after Suffolk County police said he targeted elderly women, stealing their credit cards Monday in Stop & Shop stores in Deer Park and East Northport.
The victims were 70, 76 and 84 years old, police said.
Police said Second Precinct officers, responding to a call at the Stop & Shop at 3126 Jericho Tpke. in East Northport, found a 70-year-old woman who said a man had stolen a credit card from her purse.
Police said the officers arrested Willie Vanderhall in the shopping center at 4:45 p.m. Police said further investigation by First Squad and Second Squad detectives, as well as Hate Crimes detectives, determined Vanderhall also had targeted two other elderly female victims earlier at a Stop & Shop at 421 Commack Rd. in Deer Park.
In those cases, police said, Vanderhall stole credit cards from the 76-year-old and 84-year-old victims and used them to "make purchases" at Best Buy stores in Suffolk. Police did not disclose the Best Buy locations or items purchased.
Vanderhall was charged with two counts of fourth-degree grand larceny as a hate crime and petit larceny as a hate crime, police said.
Police said Vanderhall was transported to a hospital for "a medical emergency unrelated to his arrest," but did not disclose further information.
Vanderhall is scheduled for arraignment at a later date. Police said the investigation is ongoing and are asking anyone with information regarding any of the crimes to contact Hate Crimes detectives at 631-852-6323.