Reporting Jennifer McLogan
BALDWIN, N.Y. (CBS 2 / WCBS 880/ 1010 WINS) – For the 16th time in the last month, a female shopper has been stalked home to her own driveway and set upon by violent, purse-snatching thugs.
Women in eight different Nassau County communities have been victimized.
The latest horrifying holiday mugging took place in victim Maureen Herman’s driveway in Baldwin.
Herman, 56, was grabbed from behind in a vicious bear hug and tackled, her suede coat scuffed and muddied in the struggle.
“She essentially just said, ‘no way, no, you are not getting my things,’ and continued to fight him,” the victim’s sister, Kathleen Herman, told CBS 2′s Jennifer McLogan. “By this point, she had been knocked to the ground, and she just kicked and kicked.”
Kathleen said her sister is a tough cookie, and she refused to give up her handbag. The confrontation took place just yards from neighbor Sharon Heredia’s door.
“I didn’t hear any screams. I don’t know if he put his hands over her mouth,” Heredia said. “Our houses are very close.”
So far, 16 innocent women have been followed home from malls or train stations and robbed of their purses and handbags.
“I would be more cautious and I wouldn’t be coming out too late at night, especially during the holiday season,” said Janet Burchell of Hempstead.
Police describe the two suspects as 20 to 25 years old. One suspect is between 6-foot and 6-2 – and is said to be the one driving the getaway car. The other is much shorter, between 5-4 and 5-6. Police said he’s the one who jumps out and pounces on the unsuspecting victims before the two flee by car.
“Seeing a single woman in a car, or a single woman walking along the road – that is when they decide to attack,” Detective Sgt. John Giambrone, of the Nassau County Police Robbery Squad, said.
While some of the victims were injured during a struggle, police said several other women were able to fight off their attackers.
“In the last several events the victims have successfully retained their property. You got to remember these women are being grabbed in a dark area from behind,” Sgt. Giambrone said.
Police are cautioning residents to travel in pairs and to be aware of their surroundings. Fearing the violence could escalate, police also said victims shouldn’t fight back.
Police said the suspects have gotten away with thousands of dollars in the victims’ purses, along with credit cards, jewelry, passports, Social Security cards, and other personal items.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS. All callers will remain anonymous.