NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police are searching for a man they say followed a woman into her Manhattan apartment building, put her in a chokehold and robbed her.

As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, what the man allegedly made off with was not all that he was counting on.

The crime happened on the night of Thanksgiving.

Police say the man, believed to be in his 40s, was determined to ruin the holiday for the 60-year-old woman.

He allegedly followed her along the sidewalk and into the lobby of the building on West 111th Street in Morningside Heights. She was attacked just a few feet away from her apartment door.

The woman’s boyfriend told Carlin she didn’t even know anyone was behind her, until she was suddenly in a chokehold.

“Before the door closes, the guy jumps in,” Jose Castillo said. “Pushed her against the wall and grabbed her by the neck. Then, she screamed.”

He said she did not suffer any physical injuries.

In her hands were her keys and a very small purse – one that turned out to be of very little value, Carlin reported.

“She has like a small wallet only for her business cards, and that’s what the guy thought it was money, but it wasn’t,” said Castillo. “He didn’t get anything.”

A Good Samaritan visiting family in an upstairs apartment intervened.

“When he heard the scream, he ran down and he chased the guy,” Castillo said.

Property managers are now reminding everyone who lives in the building not to allow anyone to tailgate their way in.

“It’s quite frightening actually,” neighbor Alice Cheng said. “We should always be on guard.”

A letter to residents now posted near the mailboxes reminds them not to trust strangers.

Police are echoing that plea, saying holiday time can mean more muggers, so don’t make it any easier for them.

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