Cane Thief Demands Cash From 82-Year-Old NYC Coffee Buyer, Shoves Him to Ground: Cops

Police say the Manhattan bodega robbery started as a demand for cash and ended with the victim shoved to the ground and his cane stolen

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A thief demanded an 82-year-old man's money at a Manhattan bodega and stole his cane when he wouldn't give over the cash, while at least two people stood by and watched, police said Thursday.

The incident happened Wednesday morning in the 200 block of East Broadway on the Lower East Side. Cops say Bernard Serlin was trying to buy a cup of coffee when the suspect approached him and demanded money.

Serlin refused, at which point the suspect raised his fist and threatened to punch the man and steal his cane if he did not fork over the cash. The man again refused, at which point the suspect punched him and stole his cane.

Surveillance video released by the NYPD shows the assault unfold in close detail. At least two people stand by and watch as the suspect grabs the man's cane, punches him, shoves him to the ground and runs off. At one point the flinching victim appears to look around for help as he tries to maintain his grip on his cane. (At least one of the two bystanders appeared to try and stop the suspect as he fled.)

The NYPD said Serlin suffered only a minor head injury and declined further medical attention. The incident didn't appear to shake him up too badly because he later told NBC New York that he "wish I'd have a shot" at the suspect, who police identified as 42-year-old Raoul Hyacinthe.

"I'd punch him right in the f---ing face," Serlin added. "I was just going for coffee and he just pushed me. I don't look for trouble."

Hyacinthe was taken into custody less than 24 hours after the incident and charged with robbery, according to police.

Workers at the bodega described Serlin as a "good man" who often comes in to get coffee, the news and some sandwiches. His friend later bought him a replacement cane.

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