Police are searching for the robber who punched and kicked a young mother in front of her 3-year-old daughter before throwing her down the stairs of her home in an upscale New Jersey community, and authorities hope footage of the attack captured on a nanny camera will help identify the intruder.
Millburn Police in Essex County said the woman and her daughter were watching cartoons on the couch, a baby boy asleep upstairs, when the suspect kicked in the dead-bolted door of their Cypress Street home at about 10:30 a.m. Friday and pounced on the mother.
The suspect beat the mother as the little girl watched, punching and kicking the woman at least 16 times before pushing her down the basement stairs, police said.
The assault was captured on a nanny cam. Footage from that camera shows the woman being tossed around and beaten as her daughter (seen as a blur in the video) looks on. The mother stays nearly silent during the end of the attack.
"She stayed quiet because she didn't want to upset the 3-year-old child who was witnessing the whole crime," said Millburn Police Captain Michael Palardy, who called the brutal assault "despicable."
The attacker appears to stop at one point to say something to the child. She was not hurt.
The suspect took off with jewelry and valuables, including the woman's weddings rings and her purse, police said.
The mother was taken to the hospital to be treated for a concussion and bruises to her face and body. She had several chipped teeth and received stitches near her mouth, police said. Her husband was at work in New York City at the time of the attack.
Millburns is regularly ranked as the top school district and one of the most peaceful suburbs in New Jersey. The violence and randomness of the assault has shaken neighbors.
"I've been living here for 25 years, and it's never happened before," said Jackie Friedman.
"I keep thinking about what if it happened to me. What would I do?" wondered Marie Crespi. "I just can't imagine.'
Police consider the man armed and dangerous, and detectives believe he has committed similar crimes in the past. Authorities say he may have chosen the Cypress Street home because he believed it was empty; the shades were drawn and no car was in the driveway.
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