It happened Thursday at 2:10 p.m. inside a building near Avenue C and East 12th Street.
Police say the suspect asked the elderly man for a cigarette, and then threatened him with a box cutter while demanding cash.
He got away with $60 in cash he pulled out of the victim's pocket.
"He pulled out a knife, and when he pulled out the knife, he told me I don't want to hurt you," Jose Crespo said. "I said oh my God. He went inside my pocket and he took the money."
The 80-year old victim was not hurt but would like to see the robber caught, and as he puts it... regret what he did to an old man.
Crespo said the suspect chatted with him outside minutes before the robbery.
"Came to me asked me for a cigarette, I said OK, Halloween, this and that, I gave him a cigarette, then a light," Crespo said. "He was a little bit strange."
Crespo said it's not about the money, it's about getting mugged in the place he's called home for more than four decades.
"I hope he gets caught," Crespo said.
Neighbors agree, and they are terrified. They say too often, tenants trust strangers at the door.
"People come in and out, you know and they act like they live here," said neighbor Patricia Lopez. "The problem is people open the door, even if they don't know them. And I say don't do that. They don't have a key card, they don't live here."
The building does have security but only at night. This happened at 2 in the afternoon. The victim and his neighbors say not only do they hope someone will recognize the robber and help the police get him... They hope once he is arrested... He's not released before he can think twice about doing this to someone else.
The robber is described approximately 30-40 years old. He was last seen wearing a dark red Under Armour brand baseball hat, black jacket, red sweatshirt, red sweatpants, red Nike brand sneakers, and black gloves.
Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).
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