One minute, Rita Barnett was sipping sangria with her husband Alan on the couch in their East Meadow home Monday afternoon. Moments later, a man they’d never met was holding a large grill fork to her neck and demanding money in Spanish.
“Dinero! Dinero!” Alan Barnett, 91, recalled the robber shouting after he pushed his way into the couple’s Apple Lane home through an unlocked back door.
Rita Barnett, 87, a retired social worker, said she gave the intruder cash and he took off, but not before pushing Alan Barnett to the floor, leaving both with bruises.
“I was thinking ‘nobody’s here,’” she said Tuesday. “I can’t call anybody. I’m gonna die. . . . It was very scary.”
Nassau police said Tuesday they were still searching for the suspect in the 5:15 p.m. home invasion. Det. Let. Richard LeBrun, a department spokesman, described the man as about 20 years old and clean-shaven. He fled with about $100, credit cards and jewelry, LeBrun said.
The Barnetts, who spoke to reporters at their home Tuesday, said they are terrified and will now make sure they keep their doors locked. They fielded calls from friends and family — including their New Hyde Park dentist — and neighbors knocking on their door Tuesday, concerned for their safety.
After the robber grabbed his wife by the arm, Alan Barnett said, he tried to hit him with his walking cane before ending up on the floor with a bruise.
“I went in the bathroom and tried to hide and then he came after me and I tried to use this to crown him on the head, and he got me,” he said.
“He knocked me down on the floor and I got this,” the retired engineer said of the large, purple bruise on his arm.
Pointing to his cane, he said: “I had this thing ready, but I didn’t have the power to overcome him.”
LeBrun said a department helicopter, the K-9 unit and detectives were deployed to the area to search for the culprit and urged anyone who might have information that would aid in the investigation to call Crime Stoppers at 800-244-TIPS.