NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Seniors have been stalked and robbed right at their front doors. A pair of ruthless attacks have left the Belmont section of the Bronx on edge.
In two Sundays, two elderly victims have been mugged on or near Arthur Avenue, shattering the comfort and safety of the iconic neighborhood.
Now, the search is on for a man wanted for attacking and robbing an 81-year-old woman inside her apartment building.
Laura Passero was returning home with a bag of fruit just before 6 p.m. Sunday when she was attacked.
Surveillance video shows the suspect lurking outside the entrance to her Arthur Avenue building, then pouncing after she struggled up the steps.
Passero said the man came up behind her and grabbed her necklace, ripping it off her neck before kicking her to the floor in the vestibule.
Video shows the suspect run out of then building, heading east on 188th Street.
The stolen necklace was a precious gift from her children, bearing the birth dates of her eight grandchildren, CBS2’s Steve Langford reported.
Passero has lived on the famed street ever since she immigrated from the Salerno area of Italy back in 1967 and never had a problem until now, telling CBS2’s Langford she’s scared to go out anymore.
Three blocks away, the Sunday before, 90-year-old Frances Tomanelli was robbed too, under eerily similar circumstances.
“He says ‘give me your money, give me your money,” she recalled.
Her attacker also took a precious necklace, dear to the memory of her late husband.
Both victims immigrated to the U.S. from Italy decades ago and have been longtime members at the same church.
Police confirmed they are looking into a possible connection between the two robberies.
The suspect is described by police as an Hispanic man, with a thin build. He was last seen wearing a black baseball hat, a white T-shirt, beige shorts and black sneakers.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS, visit the Crime Stoppers website, or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and enter TIP577.