Chief Investigative Reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.

Construction Worker Charged With Robbing Blind Man Twice

Police say it doesn't appear the suspect and victim knew each other

Thursday, Jul 18, 2013  |  Updated 8:50 PM EDT
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Police are looking for a suspect who robbed the same 73-year-old blind man twice within two weeks in Queens. Katherine Creag reports.

NBC 4 New York

Police are looking for a suspect who robbed the same 73-year-old blind man twice within two weeks in Queens. Katherine Creag reports.

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Photos and Videos

Surveillance Video: Suspect Robs Man, 73, Twice in 11 Days

Police released surveillance video of a suspect wanted in connection with two robberies involving the same 73-year-old man.
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Prosecutors say a New York construction worker robbed a 73-year-old blind man twice in two weeks.

Bail was set at $300,000 Thursday for 46-year-old Ronald Rhodes after he was charged with burglary, robbery, choking and criminal mischief. A conviction could bring the Brooklyn man up to 25 years in prison.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Rhodes apparently targeted the victim because he was blind. He says evidence includes surveillance footage from the public housing development in Long Island City where the victim lived.

Prosecutors say Rhodes admitted ripping the victim's neck chain off on June 29 and taking his cell phone and cash July 9. They say he sold the chain for $50 and five bags of heroin.

A message left for Rhodes' defense lawyer was not immediately returned.

In the first robbery June 29, police say the suspect followed Brandon, sneaked up behind him and snatched the chain off his neck.

Eleven days later, authorities say the suspect followed the victim to his home in Long Island City, forced his way into the apartment, grabbed him by the throat and threw him to the floor, causing him to lose consciousness. 

 
"I cannot breathe, then I dropped," the victim, William Brandon, told NBC 4 New York.

The suspect then stole electronics from the home and ran off. 

Brandon says he still feels weak from the attacks.

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