NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A 74-year-old man was beaten and robbed as he walked into his Greenwich Village apartment building this week.

Police said Richard Scalera was walking into the vestibule of his building on Horatio Street between Greenwich and Washington streets around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday when he was attacked.

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CBS2’s Dave Carlin spoke with him as he returned home from the hospital.

“I just opened my door in the usual way, and before I got the inner door open I could feel somebody attacking me,” he said.

Police said the suspect, who they believe is 5 feet 10 inches tall and in his 40s, capitalized on the element of surprise. Scalera said he never got a good look at his attacker’s face.

“There was no discussion,” he said.

The suspect punched him several times in the face before taking off with his wallet containing about $400 in cash and multiple credit cards.

“He tore my pants apart. He went at it with vengeance until he could get the wallet and then he dashed out,” he said.

Scalera thinks the robber followed him home from a bank in Union Square, where he said he withdrew $300 to add to the $100 that was already in his wallet.

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“I try to take enough money that will last for a week,” he told Carlin. “I think he knew what he was looking for and where to look.”

Scalera, who works in the information technology department at a medical center, has lived on Horatio Street since 1973. Back then, the neighborhood was not as upscale as it is now, and he was mugged soon after moving there, Carlin reported.

“It did happen to me many years in the 70s, but not since then,” he said.

People in the neighborhood were shocked by the attack.

“Why would you pick on someone who can’t really defend himself?” one resident said. “It’s very upsetting, it’s extremely upsetting.”

“This neighborhood is very good,” a man who works in a nearby deli said.

Neighbors said they were heartsick that Scalera was brutalized in this way, especially given than he never would have put up a fight and if confronted would have just handed over the money, Carlin reported.

Police have released surveillance images of the suspect.

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Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.