Two homeless men are charged after assaults near the Common

By L. Finch
Globe Correspondent / August 6, 2011

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Two homeless men who prosecutors say snatched a bag lunch and a bag of cigars from two older men in downtown Boston Thursday pleaded not guilty to assault charges yesterday, the Suffolk district attorney’s office said.

John Glennon, 33, and Malcolm Williams, 18, were held on $5,000 and $500 cash bail, respectively, and charged with two counts each of assault with intent to rob a person age 60 or over and assault and battery on a person. They were arraigned in Boston Municipal Court, the district attorney’s office said.

Williams was sent later to Bridgewater State Hospital for a mental health evaluation.

Prosecutors said two men, one 62 and the other 70, both of Boston, were walking separately on Tremont Street at about 1:30 p.m. when Glennon used a blunt object to hit them in the hands. The blows caused the men to drop their bags, which included one man’s lunch and the other’s eight cigars. The victims were not identified.

Williams allegedly grabbed the bags but tossed aside the food, keeping only the cigars. Glennon adopted a fighting stance and verbally challenged the men, prosecutors said.

The 62-year-old then alerted Transit Police officers at the nearby MBTA Park Street station.

When officers approached Williams, who was wearing a red windbreaker, he took off running through Boston Common, prosecutors said. The officers caught up to him on West Street and tackled him. A bag containing the cigars allegedly fell out of his pocket.

Glennon - who has a criminal record in New Jersey, California, and Washington, D.C. - showed up at the crime scene later and was arrested, according to the district attorney’s office.

The pair are due back in court Aug. 24.

The 70-year-old man was treated at the scene by emergency medical technicians.

L. Finch can be reached at