MOUNT HOPE, Bronx – There seems to be a sinister pattern: New Yorkers in their 70s, 80s and 90s targeted by thieves.
The latest happened in the Bronx, where a 70-year-old man who kept thousands in cash under his bed for safe keeping became part of a growing list of senior citizen targets.
"I'm just tired," said Mr. Brown, who did not want to share his first name. "And yes, I'm scared."
Brown lives alone in a Bronx apartment. He opened the doors of his home Monday morning to find two strange men who suddenly pushed him back into the kitchen.
That was only the beginning of a harrowing home invasion. He was threatened with a gun, stunned, tortured and tied up.
"They ransacked the apartment and kept asking me for the safe," Brown said. "I never told where it was at but they finally found it because I had it under the bed."
Under his bed was $20,000 cash and they took it all.
"I think I was set up," Brown said.
Brown's case is the latest in a string of attacks on older New Yorkers.
"They look at elderly people as marks," said Frank Drake, a former NYPD officer who now teaches self-defense.
Drake shared ways older New Yorks can prevent becoming a victim.
"They have to shop in buddy groups," Drake said.
And if need be, fight back, he added.
"If person just comes at me with some kind of punch, I just try to smother it down and swing back as hard as I can," Drake said.
According to the NYPD, robberies of New Yorkers over 75 is up 18 percent. In the Bronx, where Bearnice Starnes lives, robberies of the elderly are up 116 percent in 2016.
Cops busted Adrianne Terry on Tuesday for snatching Starnes' purse as the 86-year-old sat in her wheelchair.
"She want to hurt me, but the b*tch don't even know me," Starnes said after Terry's arrest.
Two weeks ago, a man reached into 93-year-old Maria Vasquez's bra and stole her social security money.