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Melrose man arrested for attacking, stealing from elderly woman in downtown Waltham

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  January 9, 2014 04:10 PM

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Waltham police have arrested a Melrose man for allegedly violently attacking a 73-year-old women and taking her purse in December, according to a statement from the department.

Police say that Jameson Morelli, 23, attacked the senior citizen on Dec. 20 near 880 Moody St. and tried to take her purse. When the woman struggled, Morelli allegedly threw her to the ground violently, leaving her with serious injuries that required her to be taken to the hospital, police said.

Waltham police also suspect Morelli as the culprit in at least two other violent purse snatchings in downtown Waltham recently, as well as in other communities, though they did not specify which ones.

"Due to the violent nature of the attacks, and the injuries suffered by elderly citizens, we dedicated a number of patrol officers and detectives to handle these cases," said Waltham Police Chief Keith MacPherson.

Morelli was arrested Tuesday for unarmed robbery on a person over 60 and assault and battery on a person over 60. Waltham police are seeking additional charges related to the other two incidents.

Morelli was arraigned Wednesday, and will be held without bail until Feb. 6, police said.

Waltham police also arrested nine people in recent weeks for various unarmed robberies not thought to be related to the purse snatchings. The arrests came after a spike in unarmed robberies in the neighborhood just east of Moody Street. The robberies typically happened at night over the past month and a half, police said. One victim was attacked from behind by three men on Oak Street and was left with serious head injuries, police said.

Watertown police have also arrested a suspect in an alleged attempted purse snatching in the Watertown Stop and Shop Parking lot last month, but authorities said they do not think it is related to Morelli or the Waltham robberies.

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Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com

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