Police are searching for a woman who assaulted and robbed a 71-year-old resident in her Pelham Parkway co-op apartment building.
The assault occurred Saturday, March 25 at around 7:30 a.m. when an unknown woman followed the tenant into the building at 2215 Cruger Avenue and entered the elevator with the her.
The assailant struck the victim in the stomach and snatched the victim’s purse before she fled the scene.
Footage captured by a security camera outside the building shows the suspect hastily leaving the building with the victim’s purse in hand.
The suspect is described as an overweight Hispanic woman, approximately 5’9 tall and 190 pounds, with long braided hair.
She was last seen wearing a brown jacket and brown pants.
The victim has asked to remain anonymous.
The assault may be tied to a group of squatters who have made the building their on and off home, stated a longtime resident who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retribution.
It all started a few months back when a tenant passed away, leaving the apartment on the second floor to a young relative.
The apartment soon became the center of rowdy behavior and drug use, he claims.
“They started hanging out in the apartment and hanging out in the street and throwing parties.” the resident said.
Building manager Joshua Franael confirmed that the squatters are from the privately owned co-op apartment and had become a problem in the building, but said the management was doing everything it could to evict them.
“We have been to court and we are waiting on the eviction, but unfortunately the court system, despite the fact that I’ve begged them, they’re taking their sweet time,” he said. “We told the judge, please put a move on it, You’re jeopardizing the other 167 apartments in the building.”
The resident said he believes one of those people was the person who mugged his elderly neighbor.
The resident also said requests by residents to install security cameras on each floor have not been implemented.
“If it comes out to an extra $50 a month, everyone is willing to do that for safety reasons,” they said.
Franal said that cameras are installed thoughout the building, and that the video that captured the suspect was from one of their cameras.
Pelham Parkway Neighborhood Association president Andrea Seigel said she knew the victim well, and had not heard other complaints about the building from her prior to the assault.
She said she was unaware of any other assaults or quality if life issues in the building or in that area.
Forty-ninth Precinct police officer Lepore said that the victim suffered facial bruising in the attack, and said an investigation into the incident was ongoing.
He said he was unaware of any other incidents in the building, or the group allegedly loitering in the building.
Built in 1954, the building offers both rental and co-op apartments.
The mortgage to the property was acquired in 2013 by 2215-75 Cruger Apartments Inc. of Brooklyn and New York Community Bank, while the deed dates back to 1989 and is held by Daejan Ltd. of Manhattan and 2215-75 Cruger Apt. Inc.
The building is managed by Residential Management Inc. of Brooklyn.