UNIONDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — An armed con artist was on the loose Wednesday night, after terrorizing a 74-year-old woman on Long Island.
As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported exclusively, the suspect allegedly faked his own identity to get into a home on Hempstead Boulevard in Uniondale.
He wore a fake uniform and held a bogus ID, confronting the victim on her screened-in porch around 8:25 a.m. Tuesday.
The victim, who asked to have her identity concealed, said she did not want Cablevision. She said at that point, the suspect attacked.
“He ran out the back porch and ran up the stairs just as I was closing the door and trying to lock it. He pushed the door open, pushed me down, knocked me down,” the woman said.
The woman fell into a potted plant. In the aftermath of the incident, she was afraid to show her face while the scam artist who pummeled and robbed her remained on the loose.
“He had a chisel; he was trying to open that door,” the woman said. “He was young and he was much faster than I am.”
The victim as threatened with more bodily harm if she moved. But when the con artist began rifling through doors – grabbing her purse with her wallet, cash, and cellphone– the woman got up off the floor and escaped.
“I’m just angry. I told him my first reaction was to want to go hit him,” the woman said. “But then I said, ‘No, that’s not too smart. Let me just get out of here.’”
The woman’s neighbors were shocked at the violent incident. Neighbor Elaine Ryan said the woman came to her house for help.
“Very scary,” Ryan said. “She came screaming across the street around 8:30.”
The woman’s neighbors brought her to safety and called 911 after hearing the commotion.
“She had the gumption to get up and run out the back door in this direction to our house, and he must have heard her screaming,” said neighbor Joseph Ryan.
The suspect was last seen fleeing past schools and a firehouse.
Other neighbors and police emphasized that some suspicion is warranted when it comes to people showing up at one’s home.
“As neighbors, we have to take some responsibility too, you know, make sure people show their badges,” said neighbor Patricia Denton.
“Be very wary of someone who shows up at your door — certainly do not let them in the house; ask to see identification through the screen door; look to see – is there a vehicle associated with the person?” said Nassau County Police Deputy Inspector Kenneth Lack.
Police also warned homeowners that during the spring, there is a sharp rise in con artist crimes.
Cablevision also released a statement in response to the incident.
“We remind our customers, and the general public, that all authorized Cablevision/Optimum technicians wear uniforms, carry identification, and travel in marked vehicles at all times,” the statement said. “We are cooperating fully with the police in their investigation of this incident.”
The assailant in the incident was described as a black male in his late teens to early 20s, standing 5 feet 8 inches to 6 feet tall, and wearing a gray hooded sweat shirt and dark pants.
Detectives asked anyone with information to call the Nassau County Crime Stoppers at (800) 244-TIPS. All callers will remain anonymous.
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