Robberies Across NYC Spike 16% In Just One MonthBy Carolyn Gusoff

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Police are searching for a group of people wanted for not only beating up an older woman in Harlem, but stealing her walker.

(credit: NYPD)

CBS2’s John Dias explains at least one family member of the alleged suspect is standing up for them.

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It’s violence that’s shocking New York City: A video captures the moments a 61-year-old woman getting attacked by a group of younger people. Police believe the attackers are half her age.

It happened on the sidewalk near West 151st Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem just before 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The suspects, three men and a woman, are seen beating her, at one point using a cooking pot.

Police say the group stole $22, credit cards, and even her walker.

The woman was treated at a hospital and released. She spoke to CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff and asked not to be identified.

“I was just walking, then I just stood there … One of them just came and punched me,” she said. “They had me on the ground, holding my neck and pulling my hair.”

She says they didn’t say anything to her. She showed Gusoff the screwdriver she says she used to fight back.

“They had me on the ground, and I started stabbing them then,” she said.

It’s hard to see everything going on clearly in the video.

She says she keeps the screwdriver in her bag for self-defense.

Watch John Dias’ report —

But Sam Brown, an uncle of one of the suspects, alleges the 61-year-old woman started the fight with his nephew, his wife and friends for a reason he does not know.

“The lady is saying she got beat up and robbed. False,” Brown said.

While police have no record of this, Brown claims the woman stabbed his nephew’s wife with the screwdriver first.

“They come allegedly looking for her and him. For what?” Brown said. “They are the victim. She is the victim. She was stabbed before this fight. This lady stabbed her.”

The 61-year-old says that’s not true.

“Why would I go start something with people?” she said.

“So no interaction with them prior to this incident or any of their family members?” Gusoff asked.

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“No, I don’t know anybody,” the woman said.

The video only begins at the fight; we don’t see the moments before.

Brown told Dias the family has lawyered up and they play on going to the police precinct sometime Friday to file a report and tell their side of the story.

Police would only say the investigation is ongoing.

The community is not taking this one lightly.

“It broke my heart totally,” said Harlem resident Norma Prestol.

Prestol, 65, also uses a walker to get around and lives in the area. Though she may be a stranger, she sympathizes for the victim.

“It’s something I use every day,” Prestol said. “If I didn’t have my walker, God knows, I wouldn’t be able to walk around as I do right now.”

“That’s scary. That’s so bad. That’s not nice at all,” said Harlem resident Fatima Jalloh.

“They have no character, no integrity,” said Alberta Porter. “The thing that got me was why did it take four people to attack one person.”

Soundview chain robbery suspect. (credit: NYPD)

It’s just one of the latest crimes plaguing New York City. In the last month, robberies citywide have shot up 16%.

Friday morning, police are still searching for a man who, on July 9th in the Soundview section of the Bronx, robbed a 24-year-old man at gunpoint of his two neck chains, worth a total of $20,000. Bystanders saw the man had a gun and took cover behind parked vehicles.

And detectives are asking for help tracking down a group of men wanted in connections with a citywide robbery spree – a total of 28 incidents starting back in May – from stealing jewelry at gunpoint, to iPhones, and even cars, like a 2018 Toyota Camry.

A family that knows about city crime too well now is Than Than Htwe’s, who are still praying.

“She’s a very good woman, very responsible,” said Htwe’s husband Myint Shein.

Htwe is in a coma, fighting for her life after being knocked down the stairs during an attempted robbery at a subway station in Manhattan with her son.

“At that moment he just very frantically yelled out very loud for help,” her son Kyaw Zaw Hein said. “There was a lot of blood.”

Police this morning are reminding everyone there are monetary rewards for giving tips that lead to arrests. For the subway attack, the award is now $10,000.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via their website or via DM on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.

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CBS2’s John Dias contributed to this report.

Carolyn Gusoff