Roughed up with a bruise under her left eye and a cut to the back of her leg, 89-year-old Maximina Osorio says she feared for her life when a man attacked her, forcing her to hand over the money she had been saving for her late husband’s tombstone.
"Nobody came. I screamed, ‘Help! Help me!’" Osorio told NY1.
Police say a man followed her from a grocery store to her home at the Jacob Riis Houses on East Tenth Street and Avenue D.
Osorio says the man forced his way inside her home and blindfolded her.
Osorio says the man knew exactly what he was after: $5,000 she spent two years saving to buy a headstone for her late husband's grave. Police say the frightened woman told the thief the money was in her bedroom, in a drawer.
Osorio and her husband, Salvatore, were married for 50 years.
She says she had mentioned to people she was finally ready to buy the headstone and that may have been why the thief targeted her.
Neighbors are furious, saying only a certain type of person could assault and steal from an elderly widow.
Peter Zayas is one of those neighbors. "A person that’s sad. A person that’s holding a lot of anger and hatred. That’s the only way someone could hurt someone like that," Zayas said.
Police are now looking for this man who weighs about 160 pounds, 5'8" tall, with a full beard.
He was last seen wearing blue jeans, hoodie, t-shirt, white sneakers, and a Philadelphia Flyers baseball cap.
With the money gone, Osorio says she has no choice but to start saving all over again.
Anyone with information on the case should contact the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-8477, or text CRIMES and then enter TIP577, or visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.