A Staten Island grand jury has indicted the creep accused of robbing an armless teen of his cellphone.
Vincent Popalardo, 20, was charged with robbery as a hate crime and assault as a hate crime in the Nov. 30 robbery of 18-year-old Carlos Simon outside a Stop & Shop on Forest Ave.
“This defendant targeted the victim because of his disability, which shows that these actions were in fact hate crimes under the state’s statute,” said Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon.
“All crimes are unacceptable, but those committed against an individual because of his or her disability are particularly despicable.”
Popalardo was arrested Jan. 6 in Erie, Pa. He was arraigned Wednesday in Richmond County State Supreme Court. His bail was increased from $50,000 bond to $100,000.
Two juveniles were also charged in the robbery. That case is being handled in family court.
Simon told the Daily News in December he was meeting a friend outside a nearby Dunkin' Donuts and had just placed his phone — which he holds with his shoulders and dials with his nose — on a hip-level window ledge when he was held up.
"Three kids came up to me asking me for money," he said. "I told them no, and they got offended, and one of them threatened to go into my pockets."
That's when a fourth suspect ran up, snatched the phone off the ledge, and fled. Simon chased the creep, realizing too late that he had run onto an isolated side street.
"There was no cameras or nothing there, so I was like, 'Oh, I know what's going to happen right now.' "
The three teens who originally confronted him surrounded him, pushed him around, and tried to get into his pockets, and he yelled and struggled until a passerby took notice. He then ran back to the shopping center.
"I guess they just saw me as an easy target," he said.
As for his disability, he said, "I don't like to look at myself as a disabled person. I just like to look at myself like a normal guy, as normal as I possibly can be.”