A man walked into a Jewish nursing home in the Bronx last Saturday where he attacked and robbed an elderly man on his birthday. According to the NYPD, hate crimes against Jewish people in New York are up nearly 29 percent in 2017. That means that hate crimes against Jewish people now comprise 29 percent of all hate crimes in the city.
On December 2, Alen Califano apparently told the security guard at the door of The New Jewish Home University Avenue Assisted Living that he needed to use the restroom. After being allowed into the building by the security guard, he began searching through the rooms of different residents and eventually made his way to the fourth floor of the building.
After going through several rooms, he finally arrived at the room of the 84-year-old victim, who was not named in the news. According to the police report, he walked into the room and lit a marijuana cigarette.
Then, for apparently no reason, Califano became enraged and began attacking the elderly man. The police report states that he threw a cardboard tube and fire extinguisher at the man while demanding money and hurling anti-Semitic slurs at him. The perpetrator even went so far as to weaponize the elderly man’s walker and “hit him in the mouth, over the face,” according to another resident at the assisted living facility.
Califano was met by the police on his way out of the building. He was then charged with robbery, burglary, assault, a hate crime, criminal possession of a weapon, and possession of marijuana. This was not 41-year-old Califano’s first run-in with the law. Califano has been arrested and convicted on at least 10 prior occasions for offenses including both assault and robbery.
The victim was described as a “wonderful, kind and gentle man,” by Leslie Hoot, the director of University Avenue Assisted Living. Perhaps most heartbreaking of all, it was the victim’s birthday.
In response to the security guard’s breach of protocol, Hoot also said, “This isolated incident is the result of an unacceptable breach of protocol committed by a guard employed by the private firm contracted to provide security at this assisted-living facility. The guard was fired immediately.”
The victim’s injuries were not life threatening and he is expected to make a full recovery.