Viral Footage Shows Serial Thief Robbing Elderly Asian Woman in Broad Daylight

Seattle police have arrested a local man who has been allegedly robbing middle-aged and elderly women in the Chinatown-International District and the neighborhoods of Rainier Valley and Beacon Hill for the past month and a half, according to King 5.

Police identified the suspect as 26-year-old convicted felon James Clifford Credit, who was in possession of a firearm at the time of his arrest on Tuesday.

Most of Clifford's victims are of Asian descent, raising the possibility that he was motivated by hate. Accordingly, the department's Bias Crimes Unit is also conducting a review of the cases.

Footage from a security camera installed outside the popular Chinatown shopping destination Lam's Seafood Market depicts a woman loading up her car with groceries on April 28. Suddenly, a man dressed in a white hoodie springs out of an idling car, runs up behind her, pushes her out of the way, snatches something from the passenger's or driver's seat, races away, and springs back into the car, all within the span of 30 seconds. The woman, clearly agitated, runs after the car to the edge of the parking lot.

The footage was shared on Reddit earlier today and has drawn ire as people call the thief in question a "scumbag."

However, it appears that the crime caught on camera was only the tip of the iceberg. Police said that they believe Clifford is responsible for at least 14 similar burglaries, several of which involved rental cars whose rear license plates had been removed, according to Kiro 7.

"We're going to be finding these people and holding them accountable," Detective Patrick Michaud said.

The victims, who ranged in age from 40 to 80 years old, were robbed of iPhones, credit and debit cards, and cash. One, a restaurant owner, claims that the purse Clifford allegedly snatched contained $50,000 that she was planning to deposit in her bank account later that day, according to King 5.

Clifford was taken into custody at a car rental dealership by U.S. Marshals as well as members of Seattle's Robbery Unit, Gun Violence Reduction Unit, Community Response Group, according to Kiro 7. He allegedly had a handgun on him at the time. Because Clifford's criminal history prevents him from legally using or owning firearms, the judge assigned to the case set bail at $250,000.

Michaud thanked the victims for coming forward, according to Kiro 7.

"Without that information, we wouldn't even have been able to make an arrest like this," Michaud said.

Clifford has been charged with multiple counts of theft and unlawful possession of a firearm, according to Komo News. He is currently being held at King County Jail.

A woman cries at anti-Asian hate rally.
A woman cries at an anti-Asian hate rally. In a possible example of the phenomenon, elderly Asian women were targeted by a robber in Seattle. KENA BETANCUR/Getty Images