Police: Elderly woman attacked and robbed outside of church

An elderly woman is in the hospital after police say someone robbed and attacked her outside of church in the city's Fairmount section.

Ramona Mendez went out for a walk Friday morning with her son Jose by her side. She wanted company after learning that an 83-year-old woman was attacked and robbed outside a church at 22nd and Green in Fairmount.

"I ask the Lord to bless her and take care of her so nothing happen in the future," Mrs. Mendez told FOX 29.

Police say it happened Tuesday morning just before 11 a.m. when the victim was attacked during a purse snatching and knocked to the ground. She was rushed to Hahnemann Hospital with a broken hip, according to neighbors.

"We come here every day nothing ever happen like that," Mendez said.

"Now, you can't even go to church. I told her she cannot go to church in the morning at 7 a.m. unless somebody takes her," Jose Mendez explained.

As disturbing as the attack was police say even more troubling is that a witness said the suspect, a well-dressed man in his 30's, was actually inside the Chapel of Divine Love moments before the purse snatching.

"The predatory nature of it. That you're in the church looking to be stalking a victim and then you find a victim," Philadelphia Police Department Captain Sekou Kinebrew said.

"It's outrageous and there's nothing you can do. You're helpless," Jose Mendez said

The purse snatching comes just weeks after several gunpoint robberies on the street in the Fairmount section. Neighbors are on guard.

"It's random, you don't know where it's gonna happen and when it gonna happen. Not even a church is a sanctuary," Mendez added.

"I pray to the Lord they put him in jail where he belongs," Ramona Mendez said.

So far, police have not found any surveillance video of the suspect in the area. They continue to look and ask for witnesses to step forward. The victim remains hospitalized tonight. One arrest has been made in connection with the prior gunpoint robberies.