ITHACA, N.Y. — Police have said that finding the people responsible for two robberies in Ithaca on Easter Sunday is a “top priority.”

“I find it disgusting when somebody (is robbed) coming for Easter services — a senior citizen — so this is a top priority for us to work this case and come up with a suspect or two, two suspects in the church one,” said Ithaca Police Department Deputy Chief Vince Monticello.

On Sunday, an 88-year-old woman was robbed while she walked home from an 11 a.m. mass at the Immaculate Conception Church.

Police said the female attacker pushed the elderly woman to the ground on the 200 block of South Geneva Street and stole her purse.

The suspect is described as a heavy-set black woman in her 30s who was wearing light colored clothing. A black male suspect allegedly drove the woman away from the scene in a small gray or white sedan, police said.

Earlier the same day, another woman told police that she was robbed near the intersection of West Court and Sears streets.

She told police “that a black male suspect wearing a black hoodie style sweatshirt and jeans approached her and took her wallet out of her hands.” She chased the man a short distance and he dropped her wallet after taking money out of it.

Monticello said nothing so far indicates that the two robberies are connected, but police are looking in to the possibility. He said police have canvassed the areas looking for surveillance video of the crimes.

Robberies, he said, appear to be on the rise in Ithaca, especially being reported by people who say they’ve been robbed while walking late at night or during early morning hours.

Larcenies from vehicles have also been reported recently in Ithaca, though he said there hasn’t necessarily been a spike in the reports.

Monticello said it’s possible that the people responsible for the Sunday robberies may be suffering from addiction or physically need drugs.

But he said, “The best thing these individuals can do right now is turn themselves in.”

Nobody has been charged with the robberies as of Tuesday morning.

Anyone with information about the crimes is being asked to contact the Ithaca Police Department at:

  • Police Dispatch: 607-272-3245
  • Police Administration: 607-272-9973
  • Crime Stoppers Tipline: 607-697-0333
  • Drug Tipline: 607-330-0000
  • Email Tip Address: http://www.cityofithaca.org/FormCenter/Ithaca-Police-Department-5/Ithaca-Police-Department-Tipline-47
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