Undercover police officers ensnared a suspected mugger on Saturday by luring him to a meeting point with an offer of payment for a cell phone he allegedly snatched from an elderly woman during a violent robbery in Petah Tikva.
On Saturday morning, a man arrived at a Petah Tikva police station to file a complaint on behalf of his grandmother, whom he said had been pushed to the ground by a mugger. The elderly woman's purse, containing her cell phone and cash, was snatched in the robbery.
At the behest of police, the victim's grandchildren contacted the suspect by calling their grandmother's phone. The suspect answered the call, and was offered NIS 300 in exchange for returning the cell phone.
Police were hopeful of an arrest after the suspect agreed to meet with the woman's grandchildren.
Before the scheduled meeting, police staked out the meeting point, and undercover officers dispatched to the scene waited for the suspect's arrival. But he failed to show.
A second meeting was then arranged between the suspect and grandchildren. The suspect instructed the elderly woman's grandchildren to arrive by taxi at a junction in Petah Tikva.
Undercover officers once again staked out the meeting point, and identified a potential suspect. Police asked the grandchildren, who were en route to the meeting point in the taxi, to call their grandmother's cell phone. When the suspect answered the phone, the officers went in for the arrest.
The suspect, a 23-year-old man from Lod, was arrested in possession of the woman's bag and phone. He initially denied all charges during questioning at a police station, telling officers he was sent to the location by a friend.
He then confessed to carrying out the robbery, police said, and led officers to the spot where he had thrown the woman's purse, after removing her phone and cash from the bag.