Police arrest suspect in robbery, assault of Phoenix woman, 76

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Andrew James Mathieson By Jennifer Thomas Andrew James Mathieson By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Phoenix police arrested a suspect in an attack on a 76-year-old woman over the weekend.

Andrew James Mathieson, 22, of Phoenix, was booked on charges of robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, auto theft and arson of a structure or property. His bond was set at $25,000.

Police said the woman was watching television at her home near 37th Avenue and Rose Garden Lane at about 4 a.m. Saturday when a man entered through the back door, which had been left unlocked. The woman was beaten and strangled to the point of being unconscious.

Police gathered physical and forensic evidence to try and determine if she was sexually assaulted during the attack.

"When the female regained consciousness, some of her clothing had been removed and she just doesn't know what happened," police spokesman Sgt. Trent Crump said.

The woman's vehicle and purse with her credit cards and identification were stolen. A couple of hours later, the vehicle was found crashed into a wash area near 39th Avenue and Beardsley Road.

Police said the suspect attempted to burn the vehicle, but the fire self-extinguished.

Evidence was found near the vehicle, which led officers to Mathieson.

Crump said Mathieson had the victim's credit cards in his possession when he was arrested Sunday night.

Police said he has a criminal history and had been wanted on outstanding warrants.

The victim was released from the hospital Saturday afternoon and is recovering with family members.