Runway model survives mugging in NYC

November 18, 2010 3:03:30 AM PST
A runway model survived a terrifying mugging in Manhattan just steps from City Hall.

Julia Melnova struts on catwalks in Europe and graces the pages of top fashion magazines.

At 24 years old, she is living the dream - life in the big city navigating a successful modeling career and pursuing the world of finance and real estate on the side.

"I'm looking for new opportunities. I believe my brain and my looks will get me far," Melnova said.

But in one moment, the carefree young woman's life changed.

Julia was ambushed and attacked by two men just a stones throw away from heavily guarded City Hall.

"I couldn't believe it was happening to me. New York is so safe. Especially next to City Hall," Melnova said.

The Russian model had just finished shopping at Whole Foods.

She was sitting on a bench inside City Hall Park chatting on her Blackberry around 11:30 Friday night when two men hiding behind hoods snuck up behind her.

While one ransacked her purse, the other choked her with both hands.

"One guy was holding something inside his jacket. I didn't want to cause any trouble," Melnova said.

They snatched her $2,000 designer purse and a bag of groceries.

She didn't have any cash, but they got her credit cards.

Police have a photo of one of the crooks.

Police say he's 5-foot-10 and 140 pounds, with a medium skin tone.

The other is 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds, with a dark complexion.

Both were wearing black waist-length nylon jackets, hooded sweatshirts and sweatpants.

It's an image that has Julia rethinking her life in Manhattan.

"I'm trying not to be there. I don't want to go home. I don't feel comfortable. I'm going to move out of my apartment," Melnova said.

So far, there are no arrests.

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