THE BRONX — Bernice Starnes claims her spot each and everyday outside her Marmion Avenue apartment in the Bronx.
Starnes says she just enjoys being outside to help the day pass. In fact, she has become a community staple, saying good morning to children on their way to school.
But, on Sept. 11, a woman saying hello to Starnes at 2 in the afternoon had a different motive.
“She came up to me and I said good morning,” Starnes recalls. “She said, ‘oh it is a good morning,’ then grabbed my pocketbook and started to run.”
Starnes, a former high school track star, tried to push herself out of her wheelchair to chase the woman, but became too exhausted and had to sit back down.
Police initially said Starnes was 85, but she told PIX11 she just celebrated her 86th birthday.
She later broke out into tears explaining how she felt so helpless in the situation, because of her age.
“I couldn’t catch her,” Starnes said. “I wanted to catch her and beat the sh*t out of her.”
The woman made off with about $115 along with Starnes’ bank card.
Surveillance video shows the thief tossing the purse into a garbage can later on.
“I’d like to put a bullet through her brains and feed it to the animals,” said the feisty Starnes.
On Monday, as Starnes sat outside, she received a surprise visit from NYPD officers out of the 48th precinct.
The officers pooled their own money together, and donated the stolen money back to Starnes, who was reduced to tears.
“God bless them and keep them safe,” she said.