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Woman assaulted, robbed after getting off bus, police say

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Aug 05 2013 12:05:35 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 05 2013 05:57:02 PM CDT

Police are on the hunt for a man who attacked and robbed an 85-year-old woman of her purse after following her off a bus.

MOUNT PENN, Pa. -

Police are on the hunt for a man who attacked and robbed an 85-year-old woman of her purse after following her off a bus.

The attack happened so quickly the woman never saw her attacker. One minute she was walking with her cane home from the bus stop, the next she was on the ground after hitting her head on the sidewalk, said police.

The crime happened around 12:15 p.m. Monday in the 1900 block of Perkiomen Avenue in Mount Penn, Berks Co., near the border with Reading.

The woman just got off a BARTA bus from center city and was walking home when her attacker, who got off the same bus, attacked her from behind for no reason other than to take her purse, said police.

"Grabbed her and pushed her to the ground, causing a significant laceration to her head," said Chief Ray Serafin, Central Berks Regional Police Dept.

Joyce Beekley was doing laundry, but heard the mailman yelling, trying to help the woman.

"I just ran in and got a towel and put cold water on it and I just held a compress on her," said Beekley, who lives in the same apartment complex.    

The elderly woman was coming home from the grocery store and the bank, something neighbors said she does often.

"She has her same routine everyday. This is what she does everyday. I can sit in my living room and see her come down the sidewalk everyday at the same time," said Beekley.

"Most of the time I'm out here and hold the door open for her. If I would have come out a couple minutes earlier, it probably wouldn't have happened," said Brittany Bender, who saw the woman on the ground.

According to police, the man was so brazen he spoke to the mailman moments before he preyed on the woman.

"In broad daylight, right outside where I live, I won't be here too much longer," said Bender.

Police described the attacker as a white man about 6'1" wearing a black shirt and red pants.

Central Berks and city officers scoured the area, but they were unable to find the assailant, who was seen around 8 a.m. getting on a bus in Birdsboro, police said.

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The victim was transported to Reading Hospital for treatment of injuries to her head and shoulder. She was last reported to be in stable condition.

Anyone with information about the assault and robbery is asked to call Crime Alert Berks County at 877-373-9913. A cash reward of up to $5,000 is being offered for information that leads to an arrest.