The mugger hit the woman so hard she fell past the wrought iron gate and landed on the pavement. In full view of a surveillance camera, the thief followed his victim in, grabbed her purse and ran.
The entire attack, which happened in front of the Good Shepherd School in Marine Park, was caught on tape by a surveillance camera. New York newspapers identified the victim as Patricia McGowan, a teacher at the school.
Police say the 18-year-old suspect was arrested after detectives linked him through other crimes. He attended a juvenile detention center in Yonkers, N.Y. and was also suspected in several other robberies, including two on food deliverymen.
Residents were shocked, saying the suspect was bold enough to return after the initial assault, while police were on the scene, to steal the victim's car.
The NYPD released the video, which shows the man punching the woman. As she hits the ground, the suspect is seen running off with her purse.
Police describe the suspect as a black man, approximately 5 feet 10 inches, wearing long black shorts, a white shirt and a backpack.
The victim is recovering from a swollen and bruised face. She is a teacher at the school where the attack took place.
"Seeing her fall to the floor, it was just horrible," Joseph Gencarelli, the father of one of her students told WCBS. "My son … that's all he talks about, 'My teacher. My teacher.' Here of all places."
"I think it's really horrible and it's a sin that this happened," third grader Christopher Caputo told the affiliate.