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Search Is On After Nearly A Dozen Robberies Targeting The Elderly In Northeast Philadelphia

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By Elizabeth Hur and Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Police in Philadelphia are asking the public for help finding two men who have been robbing elderly victims after they made withdrawals from banks in the east and northeast sections of the city. The oldest victim, police say, is 96-years-old.

So far, eleven victims have come forward and two of them spoke with Eyewitness News.

Both men asked that we don’t identify them.

“The only thing I had in my hand was car keys, I said, ‘Get out of here, get out of here,’ and that’s when he came and punched me,” one victim recalled. “He punched me in the face, and I had a fat lip for like four days.”

The other said, “He drove up the driveway very quiet. I was trying to open the door in the back, and he came out of nowhere.”

Detectives say the strong-arm robberies started in April and have continued into August.

Investigators soon began seeing a pattern and started pulling bank video and looking for home-security camera video as well.

East Detectives Capt. Mark Bergman says the bandit appears to target his victims.

“The one individual in the bank, he’s hanging around, he makes a transaction. However, he just asks for change for a 20-dollar-bill. Then, he’s hanging around, he’s looking to see who’s taking large sums of money out, and then he follows them. And, when they get the opportunity, they rob [the victim].”

Lt. Dennis Rosenbaum with Northeast Detectives added, “They’re followed home and accosted and sometimes beaten, sometimes just pushed over, sometimes the money’s just grabbed.”

Police say, in all, the victims have been robbed of a couple thousand dollars.

One elderly man is still hospitalized after the assault, and another was hit with some kind of pepper spray.

Bergman says this is somebody who has no respect for the elderly.

“Our oldest victim is 96-years-old. That could anybody’s mom or grandmom, or grandfather.”

Detectives say the robberies have occurred in Bustleton, Rhawnhurst, Castor Greens, Mayfair, Juniata and Northern Liberties.

One of the victims said, “I look over my shoulder, and I’m alert every time I go out. I was already alert, okay? I didn’t think it would happen to me.”

To view the surveillance video, visit The Philadelphia Police YouTube Channel or visit http://phillypolice.com/news.

If you have any information about this crime or this suspect, please contact: Northeast Detective Division 215-686-3153/3154 or East Detective Division at 215-686-3243/3244.

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