An accused robber has been indicted on hate crime charges after he targeted a disabled teen outside a Staten Island shopping plaza late last year, prosecutors said.
Vincent Popalardo, 20, has been indicted on charges that include robbery in the second degree as a hate crime, assault in the second degree as a hate crime, and robbery in the third degree as a hate crime. HIs bail was increased from $50,000 bond to $100,000 during his arraignment Wednesday.
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According to the district attorney’s office, on Nov. 30, 2015, at about 8:30 p.m., in front of a storefront at 1351 Forest Ave., Popalardo, with the help of two juveniles, whose cases are being handled in family court, stole a cellphone from the 18-year-old man — who was born without arms — assaulting him in the process.
“This defendant targeted the victim because of his disability, which shows that these actions were in fact hate crimes under the state’s statute,” said Richmond County District Attorney Michael E. McMahon in a statement. “All crimes are unacceptable, but those committed against an individual because of his or her disability are particularly despicable.”