Clerk, 91, assaulted during robbery

March 12, 2010 5:58:18 PM PST
A man held up a drug store on Long Island on Thursday and punched a 91-year-old clerk in the chest. Knitting mittens and hats for the homeless is calming for Florence Critelli. She does it every night, but the Rite Aid cashier had a crazy day at the store on Larkfield Road in East Northport.

Around 10:30 Thursday morning, a man walked up to her register with a dollar bill to buy a pack of candy.

"And when I went to give him the change, he put his hand in the register to grab the money so I grabbed him. Then hit me on the side," she explained.

In surveillance video, you can see her stumble backwards.

"I had a mastectomy, so the side that he hit was false," Critelli said.

Why did she grab the robber's hand?

That was second nature for this mother two, grandmother of seven, great-grandmother of 13.

"I didn't think of anything. The only thing I thought of was saving the money which was foolish, right?" she said.

Suffolk County Police are looking for a white man, approximately 5'8" with circle tattoos on his fingers. He was wearing a black baseball hat.

Despite the incident, Critelli wants to keep working.

"I don't want to retire," she said.

She's been there 17 years and counting.

Critelli went back to work just one day after the attack, is back on the job despite her ordeal.