Queens seniors are breathing easier now that 44-year-old alleged “granny basher” Jack Rhodes is behind bars and facing up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the widely publicized muggings of two elderly women on Sunday, March 4 and other crimes with which he is charged.
“Everyone was cheering when they found the person. They were very, very ecstatic,” said Barbara Toscano, executive director of the Peter Cardello Senior Center in Ridgewood. A few weeks after the attacks the center hosted a rally and luncheon in honor of victims Rose Morat, 101, and Solange Elizee, 85, that drew a crowd of almost 400.
“They are very joyful that this has happened,” said Debra Lapadula, elder crime victims coordinator at the Howard Beach Senior Center where news of the arrest spread quickly.
Police arrested Rhodes in Brooklyn on Friday, April 27 after officers responding to reports of a car break-in recognized him as a suspect in the December 30, 2006 mugging of 51-year-old Angela Khan. Khan was entering her Hollis residence at 88-30 182nd Street when Rhodes allegedly followed her inside and assaulted her. He stole cash, a credit card and Khan’s driver’s license, according to District Attorney Richard A. Brown.
“I’m delighted that the man has been arrested. I hope he is put away for a very long time,” said State Senator Frank Padavan. Padavan awarded medals to Morat and Elizee, who both lived in his district at the time of the attacks, at an April event held at the Services Now for Adult Persons (SNAP) facility in Queens Village.
Similarities between Rhodes’ alleged attack on Khan and the Morat and Elizee muggings did not go unnoticed. According to news reports, Khan identified a photograph of Rhodes and recognized him from the security video of the Morat assault which left the Jamaica Estates resident with a broken cheekbone.
“I’m gratified and relieved that the suspect is in custody,” said City Councilmember James F. Gennaro, who offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator in the Morat and Elizee muggings. “The residents of Queens had a very uneasy feeling knowing that the perpetrator was still on the streets.”
Rhodes, whose last known address was 34-25 Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City according to Brown, was found with a crack pipe when stopped, police said.
Chris Policano, communications director for Phoenix House, a national non-profit substance abuse treatment services organization, confirmed that the group maintains a long term residential drug treatment program at that address.
While Policano said that the site generally provides care for those with long histories of substance abuse and who are expected to require treatment for at least one year, he declined to confirm or deny that Rhodes had ever resided there, citing state and federal privacy laws.
Rhodes was arraigned on Saturday, April 28 before Queens Criminal Court Judge Robert McGann on three criminal complaints. In the first complaint concerning Morat and Elizee, Rhodes received enhanced charges because of the victims’ advanced ages.
That complaint charged Rhodes with two counts of burglary in the first degree as a hate crime, two counts of robbery in the second degree as a hate crime, two counts of assault in the second degree as a hate crime, two counts of grand larceny in the fourth degree as a hate crime and two counts of endangering the welfare of an incompetent person.
The second complaint concerned Khan and charged Rhodes with one count of burglary in the first degree, one count of robbery in the second degree, one count of assault in the second degree and one count of grand larceny in the fourth degree.
In the final complaint Rhodes was charged with one count of second degree burglary for an incident that took place at 175-06 Devonshire Road in Jamaica, also on Sunday, March 4.
Doris Garfield of Elmhurst said she had hired Rhodes to fix a leak in her ceiling, and was previously quoted in published reports saying she was shocked at his arrest because he “always treated me with respect.”
When reached by telephone Garfield said only that Rhodes, who originally gave police her Ericsson Street address as his own, had never lived at her home. She also said that “he did a beautiful job” repairing her ceiling.
Rhodes was ordered held without bail and his next court date is Friday, May 11. If convicted, he faces between 12 and 25 years in prison.
“The savagery and violence of the defendant’s alleged cowardly actions have no place in a civilized society and the charges against him will be vigorously prosecuted,” Brown said in a statement.

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