New York

92-Year-Old Woman Beaten, Robbed of Her Purse Steps From NYC Church

What to Know

  • A 92-year-old woman was beaten and robbed of her purse just steps from Bronx church that she attends every single Sunday
  • Hortencia Rodriguez, who suffered a scraped knee, was grabbed by the head and thrown to the ground in the robbery near St. Joan of Arc
  • Police said the same man is linked to a similar purse robbery on Dec. 12

A 92-year-old woman was grabbed by her head, thrown to the ground and robbed of her purse just steps away from her Bronx church she attends every single Sunday, police say.

The man who beat up Hortencia Rodriguez and stole her purse that had $40 inside, a MetroCard and a set of keys is now linked to another similar robbery of another elderly woman in the same nieghborhood of Soundview just days apart, according to the NYPD.

Rodriguez told NBC 4 New York that she was attacked by the 30-something-year-old man who sneaked up behind her and covered her eyes at St. Joan of Arc church on Stratford Avenue on Sunday. She said it’s every Sunday she makes the 10-block trek from her home to the church to attend mass.

Police released surveillance images of the suspect.

After the attack, Rodriguez, who is deeply religious, said she wanted to stay for mass, but first-responders wanted to her to get checked out.

Aside from a scraped knee, Rodriguez is expected to be OK.

“All I can do is pray,” she said.

Police said Tuesday morning that the man who attacked Rodriguez did the same to a 72-year-old woman on Dec. 12 inside the vestibule of her apartment building. Officials say the woman, who was not injured, struggled with the man before he ultimately fled with her purse.

Investigators released surveillance footage of the man seen smoking inside the 72-year-old woman's building. Police urge witnesses to call Crime Stoppers with tips that could land the suspect behind bars.

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