Jerusalem Police on Monday arrested six Arab residents of the capital's Abu Tor neighborhood, all between the ages of 14 and 17, on suspicion of their involvement in a months-long crime spree that ranged from purse-snatching to nationalistically motivated vandalism, a police spokesman said.Â
According to the spokesman, the group was involved in a number of reported purse-snatchings in the area over the last two months, grabbing handbags away from unsuspecting women in Jerusalem's Arnona neighborhood, Liberty Bell Park and in and around Abu Tor.
Police declined to verify if members of the group had been involved in a purse-snatching that took place in Abu Tor last Thursday night, in which a man in his seventies was seriously injured when he fell chasing a young man who had run off with a woman's purse.
The man was evacuated with head injuries to the capital's Hadassah-University Medical Center in Ein Kerem.
Police did add that that the group was suspected in a number of other crimes committed against women, although the spokesman would not elaborate on the nature of those crimes before indictments were filed.
Police said that the minors had admitted to a slew of offenses, including the stealing of cellphones, backpacks and other items.
The minors also told police that they would regularly walk through Abu Tor - which has both Jewish and Arab residents - and scour the neighborhood for Jewish-owned vehicles. After identifying the vehicles as Jewish-owned, the minors said they would break the windows.
Police added that the vandalism was carried out under a "nationalistic" pretext.
All six suspects are in custody and will face a remand hearing on Tuesday, police said.
In 2002, a terror cell comprised of four teenagers from Abu Tor fatally stabbed 25-year-old university student Moran Amit in Jerusalem's Peace Forest.
All four members of the cell were apprehended by police following a chase.