While hugging 97-year-old woman, robbers steal items from her handbag

MADISON (WKOW) — Police have arrested two men in connection with a robbery Thursday morning where the 97-year-old victim told police they stole items from her handbag after offering to give her a hug.

Lenier Johnson, 53, faces theft charges, resisting arrest and a parole violation.

Derrick L Moore, 34, faces charges of being a party to a crime, theft from person, possession of drug paraphernalia and a probation violation. Police say both men are homeless.

Police say the victim, a 97 year old woman, was leaving the Capital Center Market on Broom Street when two men first tried to sell her Starbucks gift cards.

She declined, but then the suspects asked her if they could give her a hug.

While she was distracted by hugging one of the suspects, the other stole her electronic tablet and other items from her handbag.

Police were able to locate surveillance images of the suspects using cameras from the store and city cameras, according to a police incident report.

Surveillance images were passed along to patrol officers in an effort to identify and locate the men.

Shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday, an officer saw both suspects, Johnson and Moore, near the Madison Public Library on Mifflin Street.

As officers approached, they say Johnson ran away.

Officers followed Johnson and took him into custody a short distance away on N. Henry Street.

Moore was immediately taken into custody without incident.

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