ITHACA, N.Y. —A 71-year-old woman was knocked to the ground when a man struggled to steal her purse while she walked to church on Easter Sunday, police said.

The woman told police she was walking on the 600 block of West Seneca Street around 7:45 a.m. when a man approached her from behind.  The man tried to “wrangle her purse from her shoulder as he
ran past her” but was unable to grab it, so he pushed the woman to the ground and a struggle ensued over the purse. He was eventually able to grab it and run away, police said in a news release.

The man is described as a black male with a thin build who is approximately 5-feet-6-inches to 5-feet-8-inches tall. He was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and black pants at the time, police said.

Chief Pete Tyler said in a statement about the crime, ““I am so saddened to hear about this. She was just walking to church on a beautiful Sunday morning when someone attacked her. From what I understand her purse contained rosary beads that are over 50 years old and hold dear sentimental value to the victim. I am asking for the public’s help in solving this case so that we can get those rosary beads back to her and she can find some sense of security.”

Police are asking for anyone with information about the crime to contact them:

Police Dispatch: 607-272-3245
Police Administration: 607-272-9973
Police Tipline: 607-330-0000
Anonymous Email Tip Address:

Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.