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83-year-old woman robbed in Harlem apartment

HARLEM, Manhattan — Police are searching for the man who they said violently robbed an 83-year-old woman in her Harlem apartment Wednesday morning.

Miriam Castillo was walking into her apartment building along West 117th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue about 10:20 a.m. when a man followed her into the building and onto the elevator, police said.

When Castillo exited the elevator, the man followed her into the hallway and knocked her down then took her purse.

"I've lived here for over 25 years. Never in my life have I had anything happen to me with any of the people living in my building. Whoever did this to me doesn't live in the building," Castillo told PIX11 News.

According to police, the man fled into the stairway.

Castillo said the attacker threw her belongings on the floor, but didn't get away with much. He made off with the woman’s cellphone and wallet containing $10.

"What I found were my earrings and things he didn't take, which he should have. He would've been better off with that instead," she said. "The purse had a secret pocket, which is where I had my money, so he didn't take that."

Castillo was treated at the scene for pain and bruising to her head, but she is thankful she is alive.

"You see that I'm walking, thank God. I'm not scared nor do I think that this will happen to me again," she said. "Things only happen when God allows them to happen."

The robber was last seen wearing a black hooded jacket, green cargo pants and tan boots.

Anyone with information in the case is urged to call NYPD's anonymous Crime Stoppers hotline. Tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).