EAST ROCKAWAY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island community is on alert after police said an elderly woman was attacked in broad daylight by a man posing as a good Samaritan in a supermarket parking lot.
It happened just before 11:30 a.m. Monday at the Best Market on Atlantic Avenue in East Rockaway.READ MORE: CDC Reverses Course, Recommends People Wear Masks Indoors Where COVID Rates Are High
Police said an 83-year-old woman was putting bags in her car when a man came up to her and offered to put her cart away for her.
When the woman got into her car, police said the man jumped into the passenger side. He then grabbed her arm as she tried to get out of the car, investigators said.
The man fled on foot after the woman was able to get free and scream for help. She wasn’t hurt.
Some shoppers were shocked to hear about the incident Tuesday morning.
“Oh my God, that’s crazy,” shopper Corkie Seaman told CBS2’s Raegan Medgie. “Unfortunately in this world, in this day and age, we take for granted where we’re safe and where we’re not.”
“I think it’s terrible,” said shopper Carol Stoerting. “You gotta watch behind your back.”
“She did the right thing!” she added.
Sue Vito, who is also 83 and does her shopping at Best Market, described what she would do if something similar happened to her.
“They’re gonna meet the wrong woman,” she said. “I would grab the first thing I could find, my pocketbook which weighs a ton, and smack him in the head with it.”READ MORE: Drivers Turn Highways Into Personal Parking Lots While Waiting To Pick Up Passengers From Tri-State Area Airports
But she said she “doesn’t know what this world is coming to.”
“I worry for my grandchildren and great grandchildren growing up,” she added.
“He figures they’re helpless, but some women in their mid-80s are not very helpless,” she told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall.
This is the second assault on an elderly woman in three days on Long Island.
On Sunday, police in Westbury said a man armed with a large knife walked up to an 85-year-old woman getting into her car in a Walmart parking lot and demanded money.
He then forced the woman into the passenger seat of the car, took her keys and drove to a Chase Bank in Elmont where he made the woman give him her ATM card and PIN, police said.
The suspect eventually fled on foot. The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries to her upper body.
In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Nassau County police announced they’re investigating both cases. Although similar, they’re still not sure they’re connected.
“When it is of the elderly, it does hit home. Everybody has a grandmother, everybody has a mother that age. You never want to see our seniors put in that position,” Det. Richard LeBrun said.
Police describe the suspect in Monday’s East Rockaway incident as a man in his 30s between 5’7″ and 5’10” tall with facial hair wearing dark clothing and a dark baseball hat.MORE NEWS: Taxi Driver Scared To Return To Work After Almost Being Struck By Bullet While Driving On Queens Highway
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS. All callers will remain anonymous.