Man faces 25 years in prison for allegedly assaulting, robbing Coney senior on Christmas Day

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An East New York man could spend up to 25 years in prison if convicted of a slew of charges prosecutors slapped him with for allegedly assaulting and robbing an elderly woman in her Coney Island apartment on Christmas Day.

The shock and stress of the holiday heist left 88-year-old victim Lyubov Fainshteyn with lasting emotional and physical wounds, including ongoing headaches and pain, according to the district attorney.

“This defendant brutally and cowardly assaulted an elderly woman in her home, inflicting a trauma that will last far longer than her physical injuries,” said Eric Gonzalez.

Charges against the 50-year-old defendant include third-degree robbery, second-degree assault, and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, according to the 11-count indictment Gonzalez announced on Tuesday.

The man broke into Fainshteyn’s apartment — located in the same Surf Avenue building where prosecutors alleged he once lived — around 6:45 am on Dec. 25, and began to beat the victim on her face and body, causing pain and bruising, according to Gonzalez.

Following the assault, the defendant demanded Fainshteyn fork over belongings and cash, before rummaging through her drawers and jewelry box, prosecutors alleged.

Surveillance footage from cameras at Fainshteyn’s building near W. 25th Street shows the man boarding an elevator and riding to her floor with a rolling suitcase around the time she said the crime occurred, according to Gonzalez, who said the video shows him re-entering the elevator with the suitcase about 15 minutes after he got off.

And another video taken by cameras at a nearby building on W. 24th Street between Surf and Mermaid avenues — where prosecutors alleged the man also once lived — shows him with the same suitcase, and in the same clothes, that Fainshteyn’s building’s cameras captured him carrying and wearing, prosecutors alleged.

Cops cuffed the defendant at his Miller Avenue home three days after the alleged burglary, and found Fainshteyn’s ring, earring, and watch upon searching him, according to Gonzalez, who said the defendant is being held on $500,000 bail, and is due back in court on Feb. 28.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 8:03 pm, January 23, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Tina J from Park Slope says:
I’m sure he is sorry, and he really must have needed the money. Let him go if he promises to behave in the future.
Jan. 23, 2019, 8:13 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
I agree with Tina J 100%. People make mistakes and can be rehabilitated. The world needs more humane solutions to crime.
Jan. 24, 2019, 5:02 pm
Grace B from Sheepshead Bay says:
He beat and robbed an 88 year old woman. He showed no mercy to her and he deserves none in return. I don't consider what he did to her a "mistake". A mistake is when you step on someone toes inadvertently. This was premeditated assault and robbery against a defenseless woman. He picked his prey carefully, someone who physically couldn't defend herself which makes him not only a thief but a coward. Being poor and needing money is no excuse for what he did to this woman who will live out what's left of her life in fear, instead of feeling safe in her home. My sympathy is for her, not him.
Jan. 27, 2019, 10:46 am

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