- The Washington Times - Monday, May 9, 2005

Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey yesterday thanked the public for helping officers arrest the man they say is responsible for the beating and robbery of an 83-year-old street vendor last week.

“This is a case where we got a tremendous amount of phone calls and leads as a result of public interest,” Chief Ramsey said. “That’s the kind of cooperation and information we need in all of our cases.”

Police arrested James Aloysious Dorsey, 46, on Saturday afternoon at Quincy Place and North Capitol Street NW. He is accused of beating and robbing the woman known to friends and area residents as “Grandma” at the Potomac Plaza Terraces apartment building in Foggy Bottom last Tuesday.

The beating was captured on security videotape at the building, and shows a man punching the woman in the face, then taking her money. Police made the arrest after a man who had viewed the videotaped beating saw Mr. Dorsey and called 911, according to charging documents.

Police said they are confident that Mr. Dorsey is the man seen on the tape.

“We have the right individual in custody. There’s no doubt about that,” Chief Ramsey said.

Mr. Dorsey was ordered held without bail yesterday on a robbery charge. Police said more charges may be pending. Mr. Dorsey faces stiffer penalties because the victim is a senior citizen.

“Attacks on the elderly, attacks against extremely young children, those are cases that are different from what we would normally handle, and the penalties ought to be enhanced,” Chief Ramsey said.

Charging documents said Mr. Dorsey initially denied involvement in the attack, but confessed after spending the night in jail. He also is charged in a domestic assault, which also occurred last Tuesday. Court documents show he has been arrested on 59 charges since 1984, including armed assault, and his sentences ranged from 60 days to 4 years.

Cmdr. Robert J. Contee of the police department’s 2nd District said investigators have not established any previous connection between Mr. Dorsey and the elderly woman, whose name has not been released. Cmdr. Contee said authorities still want to talk to Purnell Crockett, 53, whom police described as a person of interest in the investigation.

Police spokesman Sgt. Joe Gentile said that if Mr. Dorsey is convicted, detectives will sort through case information to determine whether any rewards will be issued to the public. The total reward amount stands at $22,000.

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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