Columbia man charged with string of robberies targeting elderly women

Jess Nocera
Contact ReporterHoward County Times

A Columbia teenager who police claim snatched the purses of three elderly women and broke into a house last month was arrested last week.

Zayah Abdul Alhassan, 19, is charged with robbery, theft and second-degree assault after being connected to a string of three robberies in May, according to county police.

Alhassan was being held on $40,000 bond at the Howard County Detention Center, according to court records.

Alhassan is also charged with burglary and theft after being linked to a May 10 break-in at a house in the 7100 block of Honeyladen Place.

Police neighborhood community resource officers identified Alhassan during an investigation and arrested him at his home of 7000 block of Talisman Lane on Friday, authorities announced. The arrest was announced Monday.

On May 14, police responded to a call in the 7000 block of Cradlerock Way at approximately 5:29 p.m. where a woman had been followed into an apartment building lobby and her purse stolen from a shopping cart.

A similar incident occurred on May 22, when an elderly woman’s purse was stolen from her shoulder as she was leaving her vehicle in a parking lot.

On May 30, an elderly woman, who was on a scooter, was shoved and her purse was stolen from her wrist.

No injuries were reported by the three women, police said.

According to court records, last week’s arrest was not Alhassan’s first time facing robbery charges. In September 2015, he was charged with armed robbery and second-degree assault. Alhassan was initially charged as an adult despite his age, according to Wayne Kirwan, a spokesman for Howard County’s prosecutor.

Alhassan was indicted by a grand jury on Oct 21, 2015 on attempted armed robbery, attempted robbery, second-degree assault and attempted theft counts. His case was sent to juvenile court, where information is kept confidential, Kirwan said.

Diane Patton, Alhassan’s attorney in the 2015 case, did not return a request for comment.

Current attorney information was not listed for Alhassan. A preliminary hearing is set for June 29.

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