NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Horror rocked the Upper East Side over the Memorial Day weekend. An elderly woman was sexually assaulted and robbed.
The incident happened before dawn on 83rd Street between Madison and Fifth Avenues, just several blocks from the Guggenheim Museum. An 85-year-old woman was on her morning walk when she became a target.
“It happened so quickly and so briefly. Just a couple of seconds and that was it,” doorman Rolando Colombani told CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey.
WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reports
When asked if the suspect was following the victim, Colombani said, “I believe so because she came from around the corner.”
Colombani said he heard what happened from the doorman who came to the woman’s aid after the attack.
“We don’t know if he had a weapon, really don’t know. Took her right there, did what he did real quick, cause it was like a few minutes,” he said.
The sex assault happened in the stoop of the building’s doorway, with the suspect also robbing his victim of a gold ring that she had for 50 years.
“It’s not something you want to wish on anyone, let alone actually see,” building employee Bill Albers told Hennessey.
“It’s devastating, it’s scary. It’s horrifying,” Upper East Side resident Erin Rossofa added.
Police spent much of Monday looking at surveillance video from a neighboring restaurant and apartment building. The suspect’s image was captured on video and the NYPD said it is looking for a 25-30-year-old light-skinned male Hispanic, around 5-foot-10 and wearing a white tank top. He’s also said to have tattoos on his arms.
The assault has unsettled what normally is a safe neighborhood.
“I would not let my wife go out by herself for a while,” resident Sam Semaya said.
“I think they ought to take those people when they catch them and you know what,” another resident said.
Monika Ziegler, a 65-year-old retired newspaper editor who lives near where the woman was attacked, said she was stunned by word of what happened.
“This, today, was a shocker,” she said. “In the light of the day, in this area, you would not even expect a mugging.”
She said police had been cruising the neighborhood broadcasting messages on their loudspeakers, asking for anyone with information to come forward.
“We’re all puzzled and a little bit shocked and traumatized,” she said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).