LOWER EAST SIDE — A robber has been targeting women in the past month, often sneaking up on them and attacking them before running off with their purses, police said.
Over the past few weeks, the robber’s victims have included an 88-year-old woman, who he put in a headlock before dragging her to the ground, as well as a woman he shared an elevator with before attacking her, said Capt. Steven Hellman, the commanding officer of the 7th Precinct.
“We’re very concerned,” he said.
The robber, a man who is about 30 years old, most recently tried to steal a 30-year-old woman’s purse after following her up the stairs in her apartment building, but her quick thinking scared him off, Hellman said.
“She had hot tea and she threw it on him so he was unsuccessful,” he said.
A few days earlier, on Dec. 28, the robber followed the 88-year-old woman home after she visited a Western Union on Essex Street around 1 p.m. and attacked her as she entered her building’s lobby, Hellman said.
The robber also targeted a Baruch Houses resident on Dec. 21 and stepped into an elevator with her at about 6:15 p.m., Hellman said. The man stepped out on the floor before she did, he said, and then went up the stairs.
“When she gets out at [the] 13[th floor], he’s waiting for her and snatches her purse,” Hellman said.
The suspect previously struck a different building in the Baruch Houses, also on the 12th floor, on Dec. 15 at 5:50 p.m., Hellman added.
Police said the robber was about 6 feet tall, weighing 170 pounds. An image released by police showed the man in a black hooded sweatshirt and a baseball cap.
Anyone with information can call Det. Angel Gonzalez at 212-477-7671 or Detective Borough Manhattan South at 212-477-7447, according to the NYPD.
Hellman also encouraged residents to be aware of their surroundings and report suspicious activity.
“If you see someone in your lobby who doesn’t belong there call 911,” he said.