The incident happened in the lobby of an apartment building on Gleason Avenue in Soundview section around 1:40 a.m. last Wednesday, and now authorities are hoping that video will lead to an arrest.
"I think I was bad to defend myself. But that was my reaction to defend myself," said Criselda Tepizilia, a robbery victim.
The 37-year-old mother says she knows it was a bad idea, but Criselda Tepizila says her survival instinct kicked in and all she could do is defend herself.
Video captured the petite immigrant from Mexico fighting off a robber almost twice her size.
"I had no idea he was going to assault me," Tepizilia said.
The assault was all caught on video. Tepizila works an evening shift for a cleaning company. She was on her way home from work last Wednesday around 1:30 a.m. when a man walked up behind her in an entryway and demanded her cell phone.
"He wanted me to give him my cell phone. When I wouldn't give it to him, he started to search my jacket," Tepizilia said.
She says that's all he asked for, demanding she hand over her cell phone over and over again.
"He threw me on the ground and started beating me because it couldn't get it from me. I had the phone in my pocket but he couldn't get it from me," Tepizilia said.
So he punched her twice in the face, eventually getting away with her Samsung Galaxy but not her purse.
"I saw the video and I don't like it that way they do is no good for a woman," said Rodolfo Zarate, the victim's husband.
"That day I had a lot of courage and power because he was trying to take my things. In that moment I wasn't scared," Tepizilia said.
The suspect is described only as a male last seen wearing a green hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS.