NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Police say a robbery suspect has been preying on the elderly – and until now, he’s gotten away with it.
Now, investigators hope a key piece of evidence will catch the criminal targeting seniors, reports CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown.
Surveillance video captured the man police believe is behind a string of attacks on elderly women in Coney Island over the last six weeks.
Each time, the suspect followed his victim into an apartment building, shoved them to the ground and robbed them.
The attacks all happened within a seven-block radius from 23rd Street to 30th Street near Surf Avenue. In almost every case, the suspect yanked jewelry off the women, and he made off with at least one handbag.
The robbery spree is making residents like Sima Kravets very nervous.
“We are afraid about our lives and our children who come to visit us,” Kravets said. “I don’t want them coming in the evenings.”
“Not only the elderly, any age, it’s very scary. You don’t feel safe,” resident Samantha Jones said.
The neighborhood is predominantly Russian, and is home to several retirement communities. Many of the women who spoke to CBS 2 said they feel threatened, and have repeatedly asked for police to be more active in the community.
“I went to police, and I said it’s very awful, because I think policemen, not enough in our area,” said resident Rita Ginkina.
Police say the elderly are often easy targets because they move slower and are less likely to fight back, but they’re hoping someone recognizes the man in the surveillance video and is able to identify him – before he strikes again.
The suspect is described as a black male in his 20s. He’s approximately five-foot-nine, and weighs between 140 and 165 pounds.