Maria Vasquez, 93, lives in public housing in East Harlem, NY. When she goes out, she uses a wheelchair. Recently Maria and her health aide did some shopping. First they went to a bank where she cashed her Social Security check. She put the money ($600) in her bra for safe keeping, and she noticed a young man in the bank watching her. Then she and her caretaker went to Regine's department store to buy some comfy shoes. Suddenly the man she saw in the bank came up behind her, reached under her shirt, grabbed the $600 and disappeared in the crowd. But everything was caught on the store's security camera.
NY Daily News
Maria needed that money to pay for rent, electricity and food. She yelled, "They're stealing my money," but the suspect had vanished. Headlines in city newspapers dubbed him "the worst person in New York." Then, suddenly, Maria was flooded with kindness and support. The owner of Regine's gave her $600 to make up for her loss. He also gave her the shoes she intended to buy. A city official gave her $1,000 in donations from citizens. A stranger set up an online fundraiser that raised $2,000 for Maria, who says she is overwhelmed by the show of love from strangers everywhere. Finally, Regine's released the surveillance images of the suspect. Two days later, police tracked down the 26-year-old Brooklyn man at his home.