Police are looking for a man they say attacked and robbed an elderly woman inside a Manhattan post office, then snatched cash from a 4-year-old girl inside a bank vestibule minutes later.
The man approached his first victim, an 81-year-old woman, inside a post office on the corner of 68th Street and Columbus Avenue on the Upper West Side Tuesday afternoon, at about 2:20 p.m.
He shoved her to the floor and took her purse containing $65 in cash, a cellphone and medication, then ran away, according to police. The victim, Carmen Crean, was taken to St. Luke's Hospital with bruising and pain to her back and wrist.
"I got my pocketbook like this -- he came out and grabbed it and ran. So fast," she told News 4 Thursday, still suffering pain in her back from the attack.
A few minutes later, police say the same man entered a Chase Bank on the corner of 70th Street and Broadway. A 37-year-old woman who was there with her two children -- a 4-year-old girl and a 5-month-old girl -- had just withdrawn cash from an ATM, which the mother allowed her 4-year-old daughter to take.
The man came from behind and snatched the money from the little girl's right hand and ran off with $300 in cash and the child's glove, police said. He then fled toward Amsterdam Avenue.
"He actually lunged for my daughter," the mom told News 4 Thursday, asking to remain anonymous for fear of her safety. "I mean, he went for the easiest way possible to get the money, which happened to be grabbing her hand and ripping her glove off her hand."
"I can't imagine that anyone could need money so badly that they could hurt a 4-year-old in the process," she said. "It's really scary to think that I'm not even safe in my own neighborhood at 2:30 in the afternoon inside a bank."
The mom said her 4-year-old daughter is still struggling to make sense of the robbery, and keeps asking her if the man will come back and take her other glove.
The elderly Crean also said her sense of safety has been shattered.
"I feel a little nervous, you know? That's the first time that happened to me," she said.
Residents in the area were enraged to hear that such vulnerable people were targeted.
"For this man to do this, where are you in your life? How lost are you?" said one woman.
The man is described as being about 20 to 25 years old, 5-feet-4 to 5-feet-6, last seen wearing a black hooded sweater, a green flight jacket, gray sweatpants and gray sneakers.
The robber is still at large. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.