GREENWICH VILLAGE, Manhattan - The New York City Police Department confirmed to Eyewitness News they believe the suspect behind the robbery of an 81-year-old woman this past Friday is the same man behind a similar attack in August targeting a 74-year-old man.
"We do believe it was the same person," said NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce. "If you look at pictures on each, it's a male, he pulls his hat way low. Each time he goes to 14th Street to the subway there and leaves to Brooklyn from there. We are looking at this as a two-case pattern right now."
In both of the Greenwich Village robberies the male suspect followed the victims into the main entry of their apartments before attacking and robbing them.
Both crimes occurred in the evening and happened less than half a mile from each other.
In the latest attack, police said the suspect followed 81-year-old Barbara Ann Davison into her building around 6:50 on Friday, October 20, and began punching her as she opened the door to the vestibule.
Surveillance video shows the suspect apparently hitting Davison several times before she appears to fall down.
Then, the suspect can be seen running back out the door with her handbag.
"It happened so fast," said Davison. "Whether I was walking up the stairs to the inside door or whether I had actually gotten the key in the door, but at some point I felt a really bad blow to my head. I turned around, I didn't see the person because I was facing inside. Turned around and saw my big red bag flashing out the door and a guy attached to the other end of it."
The crime is eerily similar to another recent attack on Horatio Street in the same precinct on August 2 at 7:30PM.
The victim in that crime spoke exclusively to 7 On Your Side Investigates for the first time since his endeavor.
"I guess I have been alive long enough that it's not so much terrifying, but what can I do about this and how can I get this guy off of me before he kills me," said Richard Scalera, remembering the attack and robbery that left him hospitalized with a subdermal hematoma and severe bruising for days.
Scalera said he has been living in the neighborhood since the 1970s and knows to be cautious.
"I have lived in the city long enough that I do tend to look over my shoulder," Scalera said. "But there were no signs that any one was following me."
Scalera had missed sight of the man across the street captured on surveillance video obtained exclusively by 7 On Your Side Investigates.
Police said the surveillance video seems to indicate the suspect spotted Scalera about two blocks from his home and trailed him methodically to his front door before attacking Scalera and running off with his wallet, holding about a week's worth of cash.
"He just really pounded me and drove me down to the floor," Scalera said.
"We were right around the corner so once we heard it on the radio we came right over," said Detective Ryan Glas, who's now investigating the crimes. "We get a lot of cases, but this one hits a cord a little bit. Everybody has a grandfather a grandmother."
Police describe the suspect as a male with dark skin, a muscular build and approximately 40 years old.
During the attack against Scalera, the suspect was described as wearing a light ball cap, a dark shirt and a distinctive arm band.
During this latest attack, the suspect was described as a black male, last seen wearing all black.
Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call Crime Stoppers 1800-577-TIPS.