NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police are warning Manhattan women about three men they say have been robbing and attempted to rob women on Upper East Side, the latest victim — an elderly woman.
Surveillance video shows an 80-year-old woman hanging onto her pocketbook as she was attacked in the vestibule of her building near East 88th Street and First Avenue just before 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.
She managed to escape thanks to a neighbor who heard her panicked cries for help as he was eating dinner with his girlfriend in his apartment.
“All of a sudden we just started hearing screaming and she knows our name so she screamed our names and we bolted out. She was on the ground laying down, some guy was pulling at her purse. So I ran out and I screamed at him and that’s when he ran out,” said Alex Weiss, who could be seen on the video coming out of his apartment to help.
The suspect fled and Weiss said a moment later he saw a man who police say was the lookout walk by the building.
“She was definitely shaken, no injuries thankfully, but definitely shaken,”said Weiss.
Police are now searching for both men and a third accomplice who they say also grabbed and stole the purse of a 23 year-old-woman at East 92nd Street and Lexington Avenue Dec. 15.
“There is no thinking, it all happened in like two and half seconds if even that. It was pretty quick,” Weiss said.
A police poster now hangs in the lobby of Weiss’ building, along with a handwritten note from him and his girlfriend urging tenants to make sure the doors close properly behind them.
“It’s horrific. Makes me want to live in doorman building quite frankly,” the victim’s neighbor, Kathy GUo, said.
Police say the suspects were last seen running east on East 88th Street.
The incident occurred just over a block away from Gracie Mansion and neighbors say they’re hoping for an increased police presence.
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. All calls are strictly confidential.