Woman speaks out after being attacked, robbed outside apartment building in Rockaway Beach, Queens

Josh Einiger Image
Tuesday, May 14, 2024
Exclusive: Woman describes vicious attack, robbery outside home in Queens
Josh Einiger spoke exclusively to a woman who was attacked right in front of her new home.

ROCKAWAY BEACH, Queens (WABC) -- A woman is speaking out after being attacked and robbed outside her apartment building in Queens.

After a lifetime in Brooklyn, Debbie Villanueva moved to Rockaway Beach for the tranquility of the sea. But Villanueva is instead recovering after being attacked right in front of her new home.

"Right here it hurts, right here it hurts, scraped my ear, my elbow," she said while describing her injuries.

The attack happened late Friday night as Villanueva struggled to carry packages into her apartment building.

A group of men emerged from the shadows and pounced.

"One guy showed up in front of the steps, and then I saw the other guy coming around the car. I move forward and turned around and I saw the other guys," Villanueva said. "I immediately knew what was going to happen -- I was on the phone with my sister and I told my sister call 911."

However, there was no stopping what happened next.

Without a word, one of the men punched Villanueva, who blacked out when her head hit the sidewalk.

The suspects rifled through her pockets and grabbed her car keys. Then they took off in Villanueva's rental car, leaving her to stagger to her feet.

"This could have happened to anybody. I just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time," she said.

What's worse -- Villanueva's building on Beach 96th St. is just steps away from the NYPD's 100th Precinct.

With staples closing a gash in her head, Villanueva says she will recover from her concussion, but the psychological trauma could last a lifetime.

"Emotionally I don't know yet, I'm gonna be honest with you I don't know if it has hit me yet, but I'm gonna take it one day at a time, what else can I do," she said.

Police officers eventually recovered Villanueva's car in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, but they have not yet found the five men who attacked her and stole the car.

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