Police donate cash to 86-year-old purse-snatching victim

Bernice Starnes says she was sitting outside at East 179th Street and Marmion Avenue, like she does most days when the weather permits, when a woman stole her purse.

Bernice Starnes says she was sitting outside at East 179th Street and Marmion Avenue, like she does most days when the weather permits, when a woman stole her purse. (9/12/16)

WEST FARMS - Officers from the NYPD's 48th Precinct donated $110 to the 86-year-old woman who was robbed Sunday while sitting in a wheelchair outside her own apartment building.

Bernice Starnes says she was sitting outside at East 179th Street and Marmion Avenue, like she does most days when the weather permits. But around 2:16 p.m, police say another woman stole her purse.

Surveillance video shows the suspect committing the act. Police describe her as around 5 feet 6 inches tall and about 240 pounds. Starnes says she lost around $100, bank and EBT cards in the encounter.

Starnes forced herself out of the wheelchair and attempted to give chase, but could not catch the woman. She credited an adrenaline rush for giving her the strength to get up, despite a broken hip.

Police say additional surveillance video shows the suspect appearing to throw something in a garbage container.

Starnes says she was saving to visit Africa, and that she will put the donated money toward the trip.

Some of Starnes's neighbors say they've seen the suspect before panhandling near the building entrance.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

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