An illegal immigrant allegedly beat and robbed an elderly North Jersey couple at an Atlantic City casino, but was caught some 12 hours later thanks to a sharp-eyed security officer, police in the resort said Monday.
Only NBC 10’s Jersey Shore Bureau was there as officers hauled 34-year-old Tony Singh into Atlantic City Police Headquarters Monday morning. Investigators said he violently attacked a 79-year-old man and his 80-year-old wife at Caesars then robbed them of $2,200 in casino winnings.
Police said Singh followed the Belleville, Essex County couple into an elevator around 10:30 Sunday night. When they got out on the 33rd floor, Singh grabbed the woman’s pocketbook, punched her in the face and knocked her to the ground, police said.
“Her husband then came to his wife’s aid,” explained Atlantic City Police Capt. William McMenamin.
"At this point, he grabs the elderly male, the husband, and throws him against the side of the elevator and out onto the floor. The [wife] then tries to get up and come to her husband’s aid and then he viciously kicks the female into the groin area, knocking her to the ground,” said McMenamin, who described the attack as a “horrible, heinous crime.”
The suspect got back into the elevator and escaped, police said. The couple was treated for minor injuries at the scene and refused to go to the hospital.
After the robbery, police distributed a surveillance photo of the suspect to all of Atlantic City’s casinos. At 10 a.m. Monday, police said an alert security officer at Resorts, Mohammed Rahman, spotted Singh on the casino floor.
Breaking news and the stories that matter to your neighborhood.
Detectives said Rahman, a four-year employee of Resorts, kept the suspect in view and radioed his location to hotel security. Resorts security detained Singh -- an illegal immigrant with an expired work visa who most recently lived in Brooklyn, NY -- until police arrived, investigators said.
Police had words of praise for Rahman.
“I think he’s very vigilant, I think he did a great job,” McMenamin said.
“I think for security officer Rahman to be that alert, shows the hard work and perseverance they put into it. Full congratulations should go out to him… When he stops an individual like this, he certainly for the most part, on most occasions [is] saving it from reoccurring in the future.
As the economy worsens, criminals in Atlantic City are increasingly targeting the elderly, sources told NBC 10.
Sunday’s attack comes after a 70-year-old Cumberland County man was beaten and robbed in the Trump Taj Mahal parking garage in January. His attacker, who was still on the loose Monday, also followed him into an elevator.
“In the society we live in, we have to take precautions and ask for an escort,” McMenamin said.
Police charged Singh with armed robbery and two counts of aggravated assault. He also was charged with weapons offenses.
Singh was locked up in the Atlantic County jail Monday evening, with his bail set at $150,000 cash.