NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police said they arrested a suspect after an 82-year-old man was punched in the face before his cane was stolen at a Manhattan bodega.
The brutal attack was caught on camera inside a store on East Broadway near Clinton Street on the Lower East Side.
CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported Bernard Serlen was in remarkably good spirits Thursday when she ran into him at Big Apple Food Market, where he was attacked the day before.
Serlen, a regular customer at the bodega, said the attack came from out of nowhere.
“He just pushed me,” Serlen said. “The guy stole my cane too.”
Surveillance video taken shortly before 6:30 a.m. Wednesday shows the suspect threatening to punch Serlen at the counter and trying to grab his cane. Seconds later, the suspect punched Serlen, pushed him to the ground and took off with his cane.
“He asked him for money and then he held him like that, ‘If you don’t give me money, I’m gonna hurt you,’” said Hector Ponce, a cook at Big Apple Food Market.
Ponce witnessed the attack from behind the counter. He said he and a customer took off after the suspect, but couldn’t catch him.
Serlen suffered a minor head injury but refused medical attention at the scene.
He returned to his usual corner store Thursday afternoon.
“I appreciate what the cops did this morning. They came to my house, they wanted to know how I am. I says, ‘I’m fine. I couldn’t be better,’” Serlen told Grymes.
Serlen said he only wishes he was a few years younger when it happened.
“I would’ve punched him all over the street,” he said.
Police arrested Raoul Hyacinthe, 42, around 3:30 p.m. Thursday. He was charged with robbery.
Workers at the bodega said Hyacinthe frequently asks people for money outside the store.
As for the stolen cane, the workers said they had an extra one and gave it to Serlen.