Police arrest suspect accused of beating, robbing elderly woman

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Tommy (left) and Jimmy (right) Pieprzyca are co-owners of Villa Rosa Pizza restaurant.

Police arrested a suspect Friday in the beating and robbery of a 94-year-old woman thanks to a reward offered by a local pizza restaurant.

Josephine Regnier suffered three broken ribs and a black eye in Wednesday's attack at her house near 51st Street and Long Avenue on the Southwest Side.

The victim's daughter works part time at Villa Rosa Pizza, and it was their security cameras that captured the images that ultimately led to the suspect being taken into custody.

Security video of the suspect crashing a stolen vehicle behind the restaurant and then running down the alley with the victim's purse that made it possible for people who knew the suspect to identify him.

The $5000 reward offer did exactly what the owners of Villa Rosa Pizza and the victim's family hoped.

“A couple of people were calling the restaurant and saying we know who it is, we have information but I don't want to give it out and to the police until I know we're going to get the reward,” Jimmy Pieprzyca, owner of Villa Rosa Pizza, said.

One informant said he knew where the suspect was hiding out. He met with police and the owners at the restaurant.

“He said this guy is known to beat up on you know people that can't defend themselves,” Jimmy Pieprzyca said.

“We talked to him for a little bit up here, then we went in the back. Police talked to him more, came up with a game plan, he called the guy, set things up then they left. About about an hour later they called and said they got him,” said Tommy Pieprzyca, another owner of the restaurant.

As the family welcomes news of the suspect's arrest, the community is rallying around the victim. The sign outside Villa Rosa Pizza now reads: “Get Well Soon Josephine.” People are also dropping off get well cards for Regnier at the restaurant.

In another heartwarming gesture, students and staff from nearby Mark Twain Elementary sent a basket loaded with dozens of get well hearts and wishes for a speedy recovery.

Regnier’s daughters say she is expected to come home from the hospital Saturday. They said she was very happy at news of the suspect’s arrest and the family is grateful for the outpouring of support from the community.