New York City police believed they were responding to a robbery attempt on Tuesday, but instead found the body of a 91-year-old man who had been beaten and tied up in his own garage.
The NYPD has identified Nicholas Rappa as the murder victim. Investigators are now looking for the person who used electrical cords to tie his hands and left him with head and arm injuries at his Bronx home on Wickham Avenue near Waring Avenue.
Officers said they received a call to 911 regarding an ongoing robbery at the location just after noon on Tuesday. When they arrived, Rappa was already numb.
While the events leading up to the violent beating of the 91-year-old are still unclear, a family friend told NBC New York he tried to intervene but the suspect took off . Police said the suspect was last seen wearing an orange and white construction vest and left in a white van.
Neighbors say the victim was a mainstay of the tight-knit Pelham Gardens neighborhood and lived in the house with his 95-year-old wife for decades. His sudden and violent death left the community in fear.
“It’s very scary because you know this neighborhood is so quiet. The gentleman was so friendly. He talks to everyone. He talks to my kids. It’s a shock,” said Tanya Zondo.
It is not known if the suspect escaped with any of Rappa’s personal effects. No further information was immediately available and the investigation is ongoing, police said.