ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- A “career criminal” just convicted in the strong arm robbery of an eighty year old woman is headed for prison, and prosecutors say what he did can be a cautionary tale to the elderly about being aware of their surroundings.
Stanley Bailey, 60, has been in and out of prison for the last four decades.
“He was a career criminal in the sense that for forty years he was committing various crimes,” prosecutor Jennifer Matthews said. “He would get probation sometimes. He would get prison time. Then get out.”
It was September, 2011 when Bailey was inside what was then a Foodland grocery store on South Grand. He spotted an eighty year old woman paying her bills at the courtesy desk.
“He saw her. He was kind of looking over her shoulder and saw her with a lot of cash. So he proceeded outside and waited for her,” Matthews said.
When she came out, he jumped her, grabbing for her purse that she was holding tightly. Joe Salviccio, a former pro wrestler, was one of two good Samaritans who saw it happen.
“I heard a scream,” he said. “The type of scream anyone would know something was wrong. And as I turned back to look I could see him dragging her down the driveway.”
His thought when he saw it?
“It was extreme anger. It just hit me so far I didn’t even think about reacting. I just jumped in my car and took off after him.”
He cut off Bailey with his car. Another man chased on foot, kicking and punching Bailey. They got him on the ground and called 9-1-1, but when the sirens got close the second man ran, leaving Salviccio, 58 years old, and missing a lung, alone holding Bailey down.
“Though this guy was sixty years old, he was huge,” Salviccio said. “I weigh 300 pounds and this guy was pushing me off of him. And at this point I got frightened and I pulled my pistol which I have a license for.”
Police arrived and made the arrest.
Prosecutors say such strong armed crimes against the elderly are not as common as scams like identity theft, but they do happen. Crooks of all stripes often see elderly people as easy marks.
“Just try to pay attention to your surroundings,” Matthews said.
A message delivered regularly at places like the St. Louis Activity Center, where seniors like 89 year old Jenny Garegnani confess to feeling a little more like targets these days.
“Well they all tell me, ‘Don’t go by yourself, Grandma,’ she said. “So I take my cane. Maybe I can bop ‘em. But I hope that doesn’t happen.”