NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In Manhattan, a SoHo man is behind bars after allegedly terrorizing his neighbors.
A disabled man was attacked feet from his walker. A man in a yellow vest was seen punching him and then karate kicking him.
Sources said the assailant is 6-foot-5, 240-pound Richard Pearson. A woman who shot video of the assailant hid behind a newspaper while speaking to CBS 2’s Amy Dardashtian on Friday.
“I’m disabled. I can’t run,” she said.
She tearfully described feeling like a prisoner in her posh SoHo neighborhood.
“I usually, you know, immediately, look to the right because he tends to be the right of my building, but sometimes he’s in front; sometimes he’s to the left,” the woman said.
Residents said Pearson would travel up and down a Spring Street block all day and all night, terrorizing people every step of the way.
The video shot by the frightened woman shows 48-year-old Pearson cursing at cops in front of a shoe store. He then charges at the employee filming him.
On Lafayette Street, a halal vendor said Pearson jacked knives from his cart, an accusation police would not confirm.
“I closed the door, but he come to the backside and he opened it and he took the knife,” the vendor said.
Some people compared Pearson to a modern day Larry Hogue, a mentally ill wild man who terrorized Manhattan’s Upper West Side in the 1990s, but Gina Cecala told Dardashtian that Pearson doesn’t bother her.
“With me, every morning when I sit down near the building he tells me ‘Good morning, mommy,’” Cecala said.
Sources told Dardashtian that Pearson has been arrested more than 15 times and released. She asked police why, but they wouldn’t comment. Last month the district attorney charged Pearson with cocaine possession and assault for allegedly throwing a brick at someone.
Residents are wondering how this can happen in SoHo and several said they want Pearson off the streets before it’s too late.
Sources said Pearson has served jail time for some crimes. He’s currently at Rikers and is due in court on June 25. Pearson’s attorney did not respond to CBS 2’s request for comment.
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