A suspect was quickly arrested by police after a robber knocked down an elderly man using a walker and stole the victim's cash on San Pablo Avenue in El Cerrito this morning, police said.
The 72-year-old victim was walking on the sidewalk on the west side of the street near the local Wienerschnitzel about 9:30 a.m. when a robber knocked him to the ground and stole an undisclosed amount of cash, said El Cerrito police Detective Sergeant Scott Cliatt.
Other people in the area at the time rushed to man's aid and called police with a license number and description of the getaway car, and an alert was immediately issued to officers, Cliatt said.
Within two minutes, Officer Joshua Del Prado spotted a silver Acura matching the description exiting the freeway at Carlson Boulevard, Cliatt said. Del Prado summoned other units to the scene and the car was stopped by police on Carlson at South 47th Street in Richmond, Cliatt said.
Three people were in the car, including one who matched the description of the robber, Cliatt said. That person, Ron Christian, 34, of Richmond, was booked for investigation of strong-arm robbery and elder abuse, Cliatt said. The other two people in the car remain under investigation.
The stolen cash was returned to the victim, who did not appear to have been injured, Cliatt said.
Cliatt said any robbery is "appalling" and this one was "particularly egregious" because of the victim's disability.
He cited the fast response and locating of the car by Del Prado: "It was pretty amazing work on Joshua's part."
At the same time, he said, the quick arrest wouldn't have been possible without the calls from shocked people who were at the scene.
"We really couldn't have gotten that far without the citizens' role in this," he said.
Christian was detained at a holding cell at the El Cerrito police department and was scheduled to be taken to the county jail in Martinez, Cliatt said.