An East Harlem couple’s dream of retiring to North Carolina was indefinitely deferred after gun-wielding crooks burst into their home and walked out with $ 10,000.
John Pickney, 74, said the cash was for a final payment on land and a house in Wilmington. The retired couple had just taken it out of their savings account.
Pickney had no way of knowing two crooks had targeted him and his 73-year-old wife for a robbery — which occurred at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the Johnson Houses on Park Ave.
His wife, who asked that her name be withheld, said two masked men banged on her apartment door and pretended to be city workers.
“Housing!” they said, according to the victim. But when she opened the door she realized she was in trouble.
“He told me, ‘Someone sent me here — John has a lot of money here,’” the victim said, describing the armed suspect. “He pushed me down and he held the gun on me. It’s very hard for me, that you’ve seen someone over you with a gun in your face,” she added.
She tried to talk the suspects — who wore black masks with red around the eyes and mouth — out of robbing her but they persisted, and she handed over a small safe, in which her husband had put his hard-earned $ 10,000.
She also suffered a busted hip during the harrowing encounter — and said she’s now afraid to go outside.
“I’m scared to go out,” she said. “I’m scared to do anything.”
It wasn’t clear how the suspects got into the building, but residents have complained the front door hasn’t locked in years.
“This is devastating news,” NYCHA said in a statement. “All cameras at Johnson Houses are operational, though. This has allowed us to provide our law enforcement partners with critical footage that will help them identify the perpetrators as quickly as possible.”
Pickney said losing the cash was a blow — but they would recover.
“No need to cry now. I’m just going to have to try and get some more,” he said.