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Emotions High In Hamilton Heights As Police Search For Suspect In Attack On Disabled Woman

With Alleged Robber On The Loose, Residents Worry He May Strike Again
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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police spent Wednesday trying to find the suspect accused of attacking and robbing a disabled woman in Hamilton Heights.

As CBS 2’s Alice Gainer reported, the man has been called a “bad Samaritan,” as he appeared to be holding the door open for the woman in a building foyer before throwing her walker out of the way and putting her in a headlock.

The robbery happened around 2:30 a.m. on July 15, police said.

The man allegedly offered the 48-year-old woman assistance in getting into the lobby of her building in the area of Hamilton Place.

“When I spoke to her she had told me that she was being helped from down the street by the man, actually — and a lot of people help her because she’s disabled — so she thought it was somebody helping her again,” said neighbor Ryan Santiago.

But the suspect then placed the woman into the chokehold. The man went on to force the woman, who uses a walker, to the ground and ripped away two gold chains from her neck, police said.

“That’s the craziest thing,” said Stephanie Stewart, a friend of the victim’s. “This guy saw she doesn’t walk well. She thought he was going to help her. Instead, he helped himself.”

The incident was caught on a surveillance camera.

The victim suffered minor injuries, but she is still bruised — physically and emotionally — since the attack, said her close friends.

“She’s pretty much trying to handle it,” Stewart said.

The victim has used a walker for 10 years, a result of arthritis and swollen legs, Stewart added.

A picture of the suspect from the surveillance video were on display on fliers in several parts of the area. Meanwhile, residents wondered if the man will be back.

Anna Harris, a resident of Hamilton Place who uses a cane to walk, said she was upset by news of the incident.

“It made me cry, to be honest. She was minding her business, not bothering nobody,” Harris said. “That could’ve  been me, my mother, anyone’s mother. It’s sad.”

Anyone with information was asked to call the NYPD Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS, log onto the Crime Stoppers Web site, or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and enter TIP577.

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