Two bouquet-toting bandits persuaded Carmen Nieves to open her door to them, she said Saturday as police released a surveillance camera photo of the suspects.
"How can I not open the door? They have flowers, they say (my husband sent) them to me, and, besides, they were young kids," said Nieves, whose husband was out at the time of the Nov. 3 robbery. Police estimated the suspects were between 20 and 30 years old.
Once inside Nieves' apartment on Manhattan's Lower East Side, the thieves bound her hands and feet and ransacked the house until they found the money.
"It was like a tornado," she said.
Nieves and her husband, Michael Rodriguez, 65, said he had planned to bring the cash to a bank. He had mentioned the cache of cash to someone, and he believes that remark may have led to the robbery, he said.
"I worked 47 years, and now I'm retired, and they took all my money," he said.