TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Who would steal from a man in a wheelchair? That’s exactly the question Tampa police are asking the public to help them answer.
Newly-released surveillance video shows the suspect sneak up behind the 57-year-old victim outside the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City back on August 7th. Police say it was around 3:30 p.m.
In the video, the suspect hangs back for a moment, likely to ensure no one is watching. Then he walks up behind the man in the wheelchair, grabs the wallet from his shirt pocket, and takes off.
Police say the victim tried to follow but could not.
Despite looking out for any onlookers, the suspect did not apparently notice the security cameras outside the Columbia.
The suspect appears to be a young white male with black hair. He wore a dark outfit with a large emblem printed on the shirt. It’s possible it’s some sort of uniform.
“First of all, shame on you. Second of all, your mother must be very proud of you,” said Chris Conn, when we showed her the video Tuesday night. Conn had just wrapped up eating at the Columbia.”If you have to do that, I really don’t want you in my community.”
Investigators say it’s not common to see someone so vulnerable in Tampa so blatantly targeted. They hope the video is enough to land the coward in cuffs.
“I think it’s good enough video that someone will look at that and say, ‘hey, I know who that guy is,'” said Steve Hegarty, spokesperson for TPD.
Anyone with information is asking to contact TPD or Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay online or by calling 1-800-873-TIPS.
Tips that lead to an arrest are eligible for a cash reward.