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Arrest made in beating of 75-year-old inside Philadephia gas station

October 2, 2013 4:36:14 PM PDT
Philadelphia police say the man suspected of attacking a 75-year-old gas station customer was already behind bars, charged with a robbery that happened a few blocks away that very same night.

The suspect is identified as 31-year-old Joseph Smith from the 6600 block of North 17th Street.

Investigators released surveillance video of the September 18th gas station attack on Wednesday morning.

It happened around 5:40 p.m. Police say the victim was inside the Getty gas station at 2401 North Broad Street buying lottery tickets when the suspect approached from behind and punched him in the face.

The victim fell to the ground as the suspect continued to punch and kick the man while he was down.

The suspect stole the victim's lottery tickets and $40 in cash, then ran off.

An employee at the gas station, who asked not to be identified, explains, "That's why we have the bullet proof glass and we always lock the door. We lock them out when something happens like this. We don't come immediately outside. We just call the 9-1-1."

The employee wasn't there at the time of the attack, but says the victim was a regular customer until this happened. He hasn't been back since.

"He's a good guy. He is my regular customer. We see him every day. He never gives problems to anyone."

Police say Smith was already in custody for another attack that took place at approximately 7:10 p.m. that day on the 2000 block of North Broad Street.

A teenager and her friend were approached by Smith who tapped the victim on her shoulder.

Police say when the victim turned around, Smith grabbed her bag.

The victim resisted and Smith punched her in the face, knocking her to the ground. He then took her bag and fled on foot.

A nearby witness heard the victim screaming and noticed Smith running away.

The witness gave chase and tackled the Smith to the ground.

Temple University police officers responding to the scene saw the witness holding Smith on the ground.

Smith was taken into custody and the victim's stolen items were recovered.

As a result of the assault, the 18-year-old victim sustained a bruise to her right cheek and forearm.


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