Police in Brooklyn have arrested a 12-year-old on Wednesday (24 May) suspected of being linked to robberies at gunpoint and the assault of an 80-year-old woman.

According to The New York Post, the boy matched the description of a gun-toting thief in several robberies in Coney Island and Bath Beach. He was caught by authorities following three violent encounters with his elderly neighbour.

In the latest incident, the woman, who does not speak English, was outside of her two-storey home around 5pm EDT Saturday (20 May).

The boy reportedly confronted the woman and became angry when she did not respond to him. The young suspect allegedly punched the right side of the woman's face, giving her a black eye.

The woman's grandson tried to grab the boy, but called police after failing to catch up to him.

After arriving, police were told of two previous assaults by the boy on the same woman. In one encounter, the boy hit her on the head with a metal rod. In the second instance, he allegedly tried to light the woman's jacket on fire.

While investigating the assaults, the police connected the boy to a number of other crimes. According to The Post, police interviewed workers at a nearby Chinese restaurant, who showed authorities surveillance video of the boy taking $20 from their tip jar.

The boy in the surveillance video matched the suspect in the woman's attack, as well as the suspect in several robberies from a year ago, The Post reported.

The suspect was described as troubled and a runaway who had also been assaulted, according to The New York Daily News. "This kid is a real piece of work," a source said. "He's like a terror in that community."