RICHMOND, CA (KRON) — Richmond police are hoping that the public can help identify a suspect who physically attacked a 94-year-old park ranger in her apartment in the middle of the night and stole an item she personally received from President, Barack Obama.
On Monday at 1:45 a.m. police were notified that a woman’s apartment had been broken into on Hilltop Drive, according to Richmond Police Lt. Felix Tan.
Police learned that the incident began around midnight, when the woman, 94-year-old Betty Reid Soskin, was woken up by a man rummaging through a jewelry box in her bedroom.
The woman responded by reaching for her cellphone to call for help. When the suspect saw what she was doing, he wrestled the cellphone away from her and started punching her.
The suspect then dragged her from the bedroom into the hallway, straddled her and continued the assault, Tan said.
After regaining her composure, the woman managed to crawl into a bathroom and lock herself inside for nearly an hour while the man stole items from her apartment.
The woman suffered physically and emotionally from the incident but does not want to be classified as a victim, according to Tan.
“That’s something she made clear,” Tan said. “She’s a very special and strong woman.”
Among the items stolen from her was an irreplaceable commemorative coin presented to her by President Barack Obama.
The woman, who talks about history at Richmond’s Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park, was given the token for being the nation’s oldest full-time U.S. park ranger.
Anyone who is offered to be sold or traded the coin should immediately report it to police.
Other items stolen from the woman’s apartment included mostly electronic devices, Tan said.
Congressman, Mark DeSaulnier, spoke on Betty Reid Soskin and this tragic incident, “Betty Reid Soskin is a remarkable person, and a treasured member of our community. This is a tragic incident, and our office has already contacted the White House to request a replacement commemorative coin for Betty. We will continue to work until it is received. We look forward to welcoming Betty back to full health.”
Following this horrific incident, The White House has assured Betty Reid Soskin that her Presidential Coin will be replaced.