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Elderly man punched and robbed of his cans by unidentified assailant in NYC

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Elderly man punched and robbed of his cans by unidentified assailant in NYC

A 78-year-old Asian American man suffered a bruise to his leg after an unprovoked attack in Manhattan’s Lower East Side neighborhood last week.

What happened: The victim was reportedly collecting cans in front of 180 Orchard St. at around 2 a.m. on Sept. 13 when the incident occurred. Helen Nguyen, a neighbor and friend, said a young man approached the victim, punched him, grabbed his bag of cans and shoved him to the ground.

  • The victim collects cans throughout the day and late at night for a living. He sustained a large bruise on his left leg but refused to receive treatment.
  • Nguyen told NextShark that the incident occurred just two doors from her restaurant, Saigon Social, which sits at 172 Orchard St. In an Instagram post, she said she did not hear about the attack until Thursday, Sept. 16.
  • Surveillance image shows the suspect wearing a mask, a multicolored hooded jacket and a pair of black pants. He is also seen carrying a large plastic bag.
The suspect is accused of physically assaulting the victim and stealing his bag of cans. Image via Helen Nguyen
  • The victim, who only communicates in Mandarin Chinese, tried to call 911 after the incident, according to Nguyen. However, due to the language barrier, he decided to just go home.
  • By Sept. 16, the victim was in “too much pain” and struggled to walk. He decided to report the incident to police with the help of a translator.
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Nguyen said the victim called her the morning after the attack. Image via Helen Nguyen

Victim speaks out: Speaking through a translator, the victim told WABC that the incident was a first in the 30 years he has lived on the Lower East Side. His attacker allegedly yelled “This is mine, not yours” before swiping his belongings and punching him in the face and thigh.

  • The victim does not believe that the attack was racially motivated. “He doesn’t believe it’s a racist thing,” the translator told WABC. “He just believes this guy is just homeless and he needs money. And he says that if you think about it now, if he knew or if he could speak English, he says, you know what, if you need money, I’ll give you $5 so you can have something.”
  • The victim has three sons and one daughter who lives in Brooklyn, according to Nguyen. She said he continues to collect cans after the attack.
  • “He just won’t stop,” Nguyen told NextShark. She sent a photo of the victim back on the streets Monday night.
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The victim resumed collecting cans after the attack. Image via Helen Nguyen
  • The victim told WABC that he just wants to live in peace. He does not want his attacker to get in trouble “because he feels badly for him.”
  • Nguyen, whose restaurant provides up to 500 meals a week for elderly locals, said she previously offered the victim a job. However, the latter declined it believing he would just slow her down.

Featured Image via Helen Nguyen

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