A World War II veteran broke into tears Friday as he expressed regret for not being able to better protect his wife when a robber attacked them last weekend.
Frank Macchione, 86, was walking with his 82-year-old wife near the Hollywood Casino, at New York Street and Stolp Avenue, in Aurora, when a man grabbed Mary Macchione's purse and shoved her to the ground about 3:40 p.m. Sunday.
"I'm always big and strong so I should have protected her. We were just easy prey," Frank Macchione said. "I couldn't protect her, and I felt bad."
Mary Macchione went down on the cobblestone and wound up with a broken wrist, broken hip and a broken forearm. She's also got a massive lump on her head and a black eye.
Shortly before the incident, Macchione said he saw their attacker sitting on a park bench along the riverwalk with his hands on his face.
Then he struck.
Macchione, who walks with a cane because of a stroke two years ago, said he was holding his wife’s arm and ended up falling into a railing. Paramedics took his wife to a hospital where she continued to recover Friday. Macchione was not injured.
Security showed up within seconds, but by that time the deed was done.
Macchione described the purse-snatcher as a black man between 18 and 20 years old who stood about 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighed about 170 pounds. He was wearing a dark knit hat, blue or black jacket, and dark pants.
In a statement, Hollywood Casino said the incident occurred on property owned by the city of Aurora. However, in the interest of helping to protect area citizens and guests, casino officials said they're increasing security patrols on the perimeter of their property.