KINGSBRIDGE, the Bronx –– Police identified one of the two men who allegedly attacked an Army veteran from behind in the Bronx and took his service dog during a walk on Mother's Day, cops said Sunday.
Robert Lebron's 8-month-old puppy Mala was last seen on May 14 when they were returning to his Bronx building after a trip to a nearby park. Two men, one of them identified as Brian Cohen, Lebron's wife's ex-boyfriend, ran up to the pair as they were about to enter the apartment and attacked Lebron.
Surveillance video shows Cohen allegedly punching Lebron in the head, causing him to stumble down the stairs and run away. A second man grabbed Mala's leash and fled with her and Cohen toward Valentine Avenue toward East 196th Street, according to cops.
Police released a photo of Cohen and descriptions of both attackers on Sunday. Cops say Cohen is about 5 feet 5 inches tall, around 180 pounds. He was last seen wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, dark pants and dark shoes. The other man is about the same height and weight, wearing similar clothes.
PIX11 exclusively interviewed Lebron, who was devastated days after the attack.
"What she gives me I can't get from someone else: not a therapist or a family member or my friend," he said about his service dog. "It's unconditional love."
Lebron served as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. Mala signified a new chapter in his life. She brought joy to his life as he struggled with an unimaginable pain PTSD.
"[If] you see something, say something - because I need her and she needs me."
PIX11 viewers took notice of Lebron's ordeal. Darran Brown saw the story and offered $1,000 reward for Mala's safe return.
The act of kindness brought tears to his eyes.
"It shows compassion and that's what I need right now. I need help getting my dog back. That's all I need."
Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting http://www.nypdcrimestoppers.com, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).