ALLIANCE, Ohio - A man accused of assaulting and robbing an 84-year-old woman on her birthday appeared by way of a video feed in Alliance Municipal Court on Friday. He is charged with aggravated robbery, which is a first degree felony and carries a maximum prison term of 11 years.
Police sidy Rosalie Brienza was on one of her weekly morning walks on Thursday, when 21-year-old Mark Patrick pushed her to the ground and ran away after taking her purse. She suffered a broken right arm and a broken nose, and was taken to Alliance Community Hospital.
After the attack, police searched the area of South Mahoning Avenue and Auld Street looking for the suspect.
They spoke to an area scrap dealer who told them that a man fitting the police description was in to sell scrap that morning. The scrap dealer’s policy is to photocopy a seller’s driver’s license in the event that the scrap sold turns out to be stolen.
Police said another witness, who was driving to work, saw a man loitering in the area just prior to the time of the attack. The description of the man also was similar to one given by the victim.
The investigation eventually led police to the Alliance address of Patrick. Patrick was arrested on an unrelated outstanding warrant. During an interview with police, he admitted to the attack and robbery. Patrick led police to a wooded area where he had dumped the contents of the stolen purse. Police said Patrick was only interested in any money in the purse.
Det. Don Wensel said Brienza was more worried about losing a rosary she carried with her than any money that was taken.
"When I spoke to her at the hospital, that's all she was concerned about. She wasn't concerned about the money. She even told me that if he were to come up and say, 'I need money,’ she would have given it to him. She said the only thing she was concerned about was her rosary."
After searching the area that Patrick led them to, police recovered most of the items from the purse.
Wensel went to see Brienza in the hospital later that evening.
"I gave her the rosary and told her that we had the suspect in custody and he was sitting in Stark County Jail, where he would be for a quite awhile and she was very pleased."
Patrick will be appointed attorney and is due back in court on July 27.
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