A Bronx man has been charged in a pickpocketing crime spree in Queens that spanned over nine months and targeted victims with strollers, according to the district attorney’s office.
Walter E. Del Rosario, 49, of Hunts Point, who was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on Wednesday, has been charged with multiple counts of grand larceny and petit larceny, prosecutors said. If convicted he could face up to 22 years in prison.
His crime spree involved seven incidents in the neighborhoods of Elmhurst, Rego Park, Forest Hills, Flushing and Woodside, starting in 2013, according to District Attorney Richard Brown. Rosario allegedly committed his crimes in a Panera Bread and a Sports Lane store in Rego Park, a Target located on Queens Boulevard, the Love Culture store in Elmhurst, the New York Sports Club on Austin Street and Lucid Café in Woodside among other places.
Del Rosario is accused of targeting victims with strollers or approaching them while they were not preoccupied with their property, Brown said. In one case, Del Rosario allegedly took a dress from the clothing rack at the Love Culture store in Elmhurst, and used it to shield his hand as he put it the pocket of his victim, who was 19-years-old, and removed her iPhone.
“Queens County has long enjoyed the distinction of being a shoppers’ mecca,” Brown said. “The defendant’s alleged actions not only hurt the people he purportedly fleeced but the reputation of the borough itself.”