New York City police officers thought they were responding to a robbery attempt on Tuesday, but instead, they found the body of a 91-year-old who had been beaten and tied up in his own garage.
The NYPD identified Nicholas Rappa as the murder victim. Investigators are now searching for the person who used electrical cords to bound his hands and left him with injuries to his head and arms at his Bronx home on Wickham Avenue near Waring Avenue.
Officers said they received a 911 call about a robbery in progress at the location just after noon on Tuesday. When they arrived, Rappa was already unresponsive.
While the events that led up to the violent beating of the 91-year-old man are still unclear, a family friend told NBC New York that he tried to intervene but the suspect took off. Police say the suspect was last seen wearing an orange and white construction vest and left in a white pickup truck.
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Neighbors say the victim was a mainstay in the close-knit Pelham Gardens neighborhood and lived in the home with his 95-year-old wife for decades. His sudden and violent death has left the community in fear.
"It's very scary because you know this neighborhood is so quiet. The gentleman was so friendly. He talks to everybody. He talks to my kids. This is a shock," Tanya Zondo said.
It's not clear if the suspect got away with any of Rappa's belongings. No other information was immediately available and the investigation is ongoing, police said.