NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A college student was talking Friday night about a violent attack in her own hallway in East Harlem, in which a robber hurled her down a flight of stairs and tried to take her purse.
As CBS2’s Matt Kozar reported, Elyse Rosales, 22, would not go down without a fight in the Thursday evening attack. She was sharing her story because she wants the attacker caught before he strikes again.
Rosales was just getting home from school around 6:20 p.m. Thursday, when she says she heard someone get buzzed into her building. She didn’t think anything right off the bat of the man who entered the lobby.
But then he attacked, and it was all caught on the building’s security camera.
“He tried to ask me a question, and I had my headphones in, so I didn’t hear him. So when I went to go to take my headphones out, that’s when he tried to grab my purse,” she said.
The suspect grabbed Rosales’ purse, threw her down the stairs, and slammed her to the floor, causing her to drop several items.
The John Jay College student had to think fast.
“Does he have a weapon? What can I do?” she said. “I tried scratching him, but it was like, I was holding on to my purse because I knew if I could get DNA, that would help. But it was just impossible for me to scratch him because I was, like, holding on to my purse for dear life.”
Rosales is 5 feet tall and weighs 97 pounds, but as tough as they come, Kozar reported. She was left with a bruise on her arm from the attack.
Inside her purse was her wallet, her iPad, and most importantly, her school notes.
“I had all my school stuff, which is — finals are next week,” Rosales said. “That would have really put me behind.”
Ultimately, the man gave up on the purse. But he did make off with the woman’s Samsung Galaxy cellphone, and left the purse, police said.
He then ran away on Lexington Avenue.
Police have released a graphic video, showing the entire robbery from beginning to end.
Police have also released surveillance photos of the suspect.
Rosales believes her attacker followed her home from the 103rd Street No. 6 train station.
Police Friday evening were canvassing East Harlem, putting up fliers with the suspect’s photo.
Residents were stunned when they saw the surveillance video.
“I feel sorry for that girl,” a woman said.
“If somebody attacks a woman like that, it’s unforgivable,” a man said.
Rosales said she wants the suspect apprehended as soon as possible.
“Nothing has ever happened to me like this, so I’m just scared and I just don’t want it to happen to anyone else,” she said.
Rosales said her attacker was about 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighed about 175 pounds.
Anyone with information was asked to call the NYPD Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS, >log onto the Crime Stoppers website, or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and enter TIP577.
Rosales wants one day to work in law enforcement. She is studying to be a forensic psychologist.
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