RYE, N.Y. – As Rye police continued to search for a knife-wielding man who attacked a 72-year-old female resident at The Osborn retirement community early Monday, Osborn CEO Mark Zwerger and Police Commissioner William Connors faced a roomful of residents to assuage any concerns they had about safety.
“They just wanted to know as many of the facts as they could,” Zwerger said. “Once you know what’s going on, you feel a whole lot better. In the absence of knowledge in the truth, one tends to fill in the blanks and not usually with the most comforting thoughts. Once they knew the response of the team here and of the police, they felt reassured.”
Zwerger said the residents expressed curiosity as to the motivation of the attacker, which remains unknown. Zwerger did say, however, that the victim may have been singled out.
“It doesn’t look like a robbery,” he said. “This would not be the apartment to go to if you were just looking for a crime of opportunity, because it’s very far away from where the individual actually entered the building.”
Around 1 a.m. Monday, two security guards on duty saw an intruder enter the 4000 building through the parking garage, Zwerger said. The door has an electronic lock, and Zwerger said the man may have had a key. When guards couldn’t find the man, they asked the police to help search. While police were investigating, they received a 911 call by a resident in the 4000 building and immediately ran to the apartment.
The woman told police she had woken up to find a person in her apartment with a knife. She struggled with him and suffered facial and head injuries before he fled. The woman was admitted to Greenwich Hospital for treatment.
Meanwhile the police worked with Osborn security guards and management staff to begin a search of the area. The fourth floor of the woman's building was evacuated.
“Thinking perhaps he might have snuck into another apartment, they brought in bloodhounds, and the bloodhounds were able to track the fellow leaving the east side of the campus on Boston Post Road down to Parkway Drive, where they lost the scent, presumably because he had a car parked there and escaped via automobile,” Zwerger said.
The intruder left behind a 5-inch-long cylindrical object wrapped in duct tape with a piece of string attached that looked as if it could be a fuse. The Westchester County Police bomb squad was called in, and the object turned out to be nothing more than tennis balls that were possibly strung together to look like an explosive device, said Connors, the Rye police commissioner.
Connors said that by noon the woman was released from the hospital to her son. Zwerger said he had not spoken with either the woman or her son. Increased security will be brought in to watch over the upscale retirement community on Theall Road, in addition to the two night guards, he said. Zwerger added that in his 24 years at The Osborn, a crime of this nature had never taken place.
“It’s a very unusual occurrence. It’s a very safe place, and to get onto the campus you have to walk on, because it is gated,” Zwerger said. “It was one of those things where this guy was able to get through, and fortunately the resident is still with us to tell the tale.”