By Milton Valencia
Globe Staff / August 5, 2008
Police have charged a 40-year-old Hyde Park man in the latest attack on an elderly person in the neighborhood, and detectives are investigating whether the suspect was involved in similar attacks that have alarmed area seniors.
Willie Bernard Nolen has been charged with unarmed robbery of a person over 60 and assault and battery on a person over 60 causing injuries. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment yesterday in West Roxbury District Court and was ordered held on $5,000 cash bail. He is due to return to court Aug. 14.
Nolen is accused of beating and robbing an 84-year-old man who was heading to his Neponset Valley Parkway apartment last week, choking him to the point of unconsciousness. Police say Nolen took $100 from the man.
The victim told police he was returning from a grocery store when a man later identified as Nolen helped him into his apartment, then tackled him from behind and choked him. The victim and witnesses told police that the robber fled in what looked like a gray Ford Taurus.
On Sunday, Boston police Officer Joseph Connolly stopped a car matching that description on Hyde Park Avenue for allegedly having a broken windshield. Connolly said in a report that he realized that the car matched the description of one broadcast by detectives and that Nolen matched the description of the robber.
Detectives arrived and eventually charged Nolen with the assault on the elderly man.
Eddy Chrispin, a police spokesman, said detectives are investigating whether Nolen was involved in at least two other serious assaults on elderly people in the same neighborhood.
"Of course, when something like this happens, we always investigate to determine if there's some type of relationship between this incident and past incidents," Chrispin said. He said, however, that detectives had made no determination by last night.
The attack last week was the latest of several on the elderly that have frightened Hyde Park residents.
In one case in April, an 88-year-old woman was sexually assaulted by a man who entered her apartment. The man climbed through the window of her first-floor home in an elderly housing complex, beat her, and attempted to rape her. The man, dressed in black, fled after the woman fought him off. Police said he did not steal anything from the home. The woman was hospitalized with facial injuries.
In another case that week, a 76-year-old man was beaten and robbed in the neighborhood.
A woman who lives in the same apartment complex as the man who was robbed last week said the event shocked some in the close-knit community, where residents were already in fear since the attacks in April.
"Everyone feels uncomfortable, especially the women; I know I do," said the woman, who asked that her name not be used because of the nature of the violence. "The sad part about it is it was in the morning, in broad daylight."
Her neighbor, the victim, is still being treated at a local hospital. He suffered a broken jaw, she said.
Many people from the complex were concerned because they know the victim well, the woman said.