Police said that 90 year old Gina Zuckerman was near 5th Avenue and West 12th Street in the West Village when the incident took place at 12 noon on September 27th. DNA Info reported that Zuckerman, who walks with the aid of a wire shopping cart for support, was making her way to a senior center near Washington Square Park with her pocketbook clipped onto her cart.
An unidentified woman grabbed the clips and went for Zuckerman’s bag as well, but Zuckerman held tight to her purse, refusing to let go.
The woman pushed Zuckerman to the ground and scratched her arm, causing a serious laceration, said police.
“She had very sharp nails,” said Zuckerman. “She scratched me deeply. It’s black and blue.”
According to the New York Post, the woman began screaming and cursing at Zuckerman when she refused to give up her bag.
“I wouldn’t give it to her,” said Zuckerman. “I fought her off. I was stronger than her.”
As the struggle continued, the mugger tried convincing passersby that she was Zuckerman’s home health aide, saying the nonagenarian fell often.
“She said she worked for me, but I never saw her,” reported Zuckerman. “Nobody ever worked for me. I do everything myself. I never needed anything from anybody.”
The woman fled eastbound on West 12th Street after an observer who noticed that Zuckerman’s arm was bleeding called for an ambulance.
Police said that the attacker was either white or Hispanic, approximately 40 years old, with dark hair and a tattoo on her left arm. At the time of the incident she was wearing a black print tank top, red pants, black sandals and carrying a black purse. Surveillance video shows the woman walking with the aid of a cane.
Zuckerman was taken to Mount Sinai Beth Israel where she received five stitches, a tetanus shot, a bandage for an injured finger and a cane to help her get around.
“Police escorted me everyplace, stood by me in the hospital while I was examined and took me home in a police car when it was all over,” said Zuckerman.
“I have a pacemaker; can you imagine I didn’t faint!” added Zuckerman proudly.
While Zuckerman only had $10 in her pocketbook at the time of the attack she was far more concerned about the identification card, telephone numbers and addresses she carried in her purse. In the future, she intends to leave her bag at home and will carry whatever she needs in the pockets of her coat.
Zuckerman admitted to being shaken by her ordeal.
“Somebody followed me with the intention of harming me,” said Zuckerman. “The police were very angry.”
Police said that there has been an increasing number of attacks on the elderly in New York City, with over 300 senior citizens mugged over the past year. But Zuckerman, who was living in Poland when the Nazis invaded in 1939 and spent six years in a labor camp, warned anyone targeting women in her neighborhood to expect serious resistance from elderly ladies who will not give up their bags without a fight.
A fighter from her earliest days who volunteers at the nearby senior citizens’ center, Zuckerman said that she had no intention of letting her attacker win.
“Me? She had little chance,” noted Zuckerman. “I could not possibly let this woman get away with this.”
Police are continuing to investigate the incident. Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Crime Stoppers Hotline by phone at 800-577-TIPS, by text at 247637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577 or online at www.NYPDCrimeStoppers.com.