Two men were captured on surveillance footage robbing a man of his bag that contained $194,400 in cash—now police are searching for the suspects.
Abdoul Beh, the victim of the robbery, told ABC7 he was from West Africa and had just recently moved into the neighborhood.
He said that he had saved the money over time because he planned to open a restaurant on the Lower East Side.
“It happened too fast,” Beh told the New York Post as he recounted the 11:05 a.m. incident on Tuesday, Nov. 7 involving the two hooded thugs.
ABC7 reporter Derick Waller posted on Twitter the surveillance video that captured the robbery in progress.
— Derick Waller ABC7NY (@wallerABC7) November 16, 2017
The incident occurred in the lobby of Prospect Avenue building. The building was located near East 169th Street and Prospect Avenue in the Morrisania part of The Bronx.
Beh told the ABC7 he was unable to open a U.S. bank account, which is why he was carrying the bag full of cash. His money was earned primarily from the sale of his home in Guinea.
At the time of the incident, he was on his way to pay construction bills for the restaurant that he is opening with a partner.
Police said a man wearing a black Adidas jacket walked up the stairs past Beh, before grabbing his bag and dragging him up the stairs. Meanwhile, the man’s accomplice ran up from behind and tackled the victim, before snatching the bag from Beh’s hands and escaping out the front door.
“That guy hold me here I cant breathe,” Beh told ABC7, holding his neck. “He put me to the floor and then the other guy take the bag, he run.”
During the incident, the attackers grabbed Beh’s neck so hard that it left scars. The victim said he tried to fight back and chased them outside to their car—a green BMW SUV—that the pair escaped in.
Beh said one of the suspects dropped his phone. Police are now using it as evidence in the case.
An unnamed police source told the New York Post that investigators believe the thieves planned the robbery and were waiting for Beh at the scene.
The victim also told ABC7 he was unsure if the attack was entirely random because one of the suspects asked him, “Where is the money?”
He said the suspects went immediately to his bag that had all the cash inside it. But he said he does not know the thieves.
Beh, a father of eight children who are all in Africa, told the New York Post his restaurant dreams are ruined now.
“I am stuck now,” he said. “It was all the money I bring with me to open the business. I don’t have another $200,000.”
Currently, Beh is staying with his nephew in the Bronx.
Investigators are treating this as a legitimate robbery. Anyone with information should go to NYPDcrimestoppers.com, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS, in Spanish at 1-877-57-PISTA or text their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and enter TIPS577.