3-year-old robbed, bandit behind bars

August 11, 2009 4:24:41 AM PDT
Police say just when you think it cannot get any lower comes this case. The crassness of it all captured on videotape as it unfolded in front of the little girl's aunt and other stunned witnesses.Police tell Action News the robbery happened shortly after 11:00 a.m. at the 7th Street Grocery and Deli in the 300 block of West 7th Street in Wilmington.

Surveillance video shows a 3-year-old girl standing in line with her aunt at the deli counter. Nearby, dressed in a blue shirt, is the man police say is the suspect scoping out the situation.

First the video shows the suspect shaking hands with a guy that walks into the store. Moments later the suspect leans in towards the little girl like he's looking at something in the counter. Suddenly, with lighting speed, he leans in again and grabs the child's purse before dashing out of the store. The deli clerk says the child's aunt could not believe what happened.

"She says, Ohhhh, my grandbaby's purse, steal, steal, call police, call the police," said Misuk Choi.

A Wilmington police officer arrived moments later and saw the suspect coming out of a restroom at a nearby barbershop.

Police have identified him as 23-year-old Walter Brown of Wilmington.

"He went in the barbershop, arrested the suspect without incident, took him back to the scene where he was positively identified as the robbery suspect," said MSTG Steven Barnes.

Police say it really was like snatching candy from a baby and they've never seen anything so cold-blooded.

"Now he was 23-years-old, very large fellow, grabbing a 3-year-old's hands to grab a small little change purse out of her hand. That actually does surprise me out of all the things that I've seen."

The little girl's aunt says there was only a few dollars in change in the purse. Police say it's unknown what he was hoping to find in the purse or why he didn't go after the purses of the adults instead. Brown was jailed, held on $2,000 bail.