An elderly Queens man is back home and recovering from a head wound after he was attacked and robbed while purchasing cigarettes at his local Queens convenience store Tuesday morning.
Elias Bournias, 78, was pulling his cash out at the front window of the 31st Street store in Astoria at about 10:30 a.m. when a man suddenly threw him to the ground and took $400 in cash from him, he said.
"As I pulled the money out, which is my fault, a guy from inside the store came out the door right behind me -- I didn't even see him -- and he grabbed, and I probably put some resistance, and he threw me to the ground and broke my head," said Bournias.
Bournias lost consciousness and bled so profusely the deli owner thought he'd died.
"His eyes were closed, there was a lot of bleeding from the head," said owner Bipin Mehta.
Mehta said the attacker had been hanging around the store making small talk, clearly waiting for a good opportunity. The deli owner said he'd never seen the suspect before Tuesday.
Bournias was taken by EMS to Elmhurst Hospital, where he received stitches to the head. He returned home Wednesday is good spirits.
"If I was 30 years younger, he wouldn't have taken the money," he said.
Bournias, a former restaurant owner, said he's been held up twice before, but never attacked until Tuesday. He scolded his still unknown attacker about targeting someone his age, telling NBC 4 New York: "Not to do to any old people. If he wants to mug, he can mug somebody his own age."
Surveillance video captured the suspect, believed to be about 35 years old, at the store. He was wearing a black jacket with white stripes on the sleeves, a white hooded jacket, blue jeans and tan boots.
Police say the suspect is about 5 feet 9 and 200 pounds.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.
-- Rob Schmitt contributed to this report