Philadelphia police on Tuesday sought public help in identifying the person who beat and handcuffed an 83-year-old man during a New Year’s Eve robbery at his home in Hunting Park.
“That could have been my parent and I want something to be done,” said Lt. Robert Brockenbrough of East Detectives during a press conference.
The motive was believed to be robbery and a “large sum” of money was stolen, but Brockenbrough said he did not know whether the victim was attacked because of a relative’s business or if the robbery was accidental.
The victim, Mauricio Gesmundo Sr., was alone when one or more attackers entered the house, beat and dragged him, handcuffed his hands and feet, taped his mouth and took two safes from his daughter and her husband’s bedroom said his family.
His daughter, Mona Liza Saludez, 47, and husband Arnold returned to their home on Fairhill Street around 3 a.m. on January 1 after celebrating the New Year at a relative’s.
They found Gesmundo partly lying in the dining room, handcuffed and beaten, she said. They called 911.
His family said he is passed out at Temple University Hospital after his condition worsened.
Saludez’s husband, who sells electronics on eBay, estimates he had $ 30,000 in the safes from the proceeds of his business, a loan he took out, and his savings. But he wasn’t sure if their home was being targeted because of the business.
Brockenbrough also said police do not know if the family has been targeted. He said there was no evidence of forced entry.
One of the victim’s sons, Geo Gesmundo, said the family believed his father had been eating around 9:30 p.m. when he heard a rustle at the door and got up to open it, thinking his daughter and her husband were have returned.
He said that his father was born in the Philippines, came to Philadelphia in 1978, is the “father of 10 beautiful children” and is well known in the Philippine community in Philadelphia. His father set up banquets at the Hotel Bellevue and worked as a restaurant dishwasher, his son said.
“I just want justice for my father,” he said. “I feel bad in my stomach. Besides being my father, how can someone do that to someone? “
Saludez added, “I am really hurt by what happened. I hope he gets justice. I hope the people who did it go to jail. “
Anyone with information about the crime is encouraged to contact the Philadelphia Police Department tipline at 215-686-TIPS (8477) or email [email protected]
Geo Gesmundo set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for a cash reward for tipsters who submit information about the attack.
Update: This article was updated on Monday January 11th to include the GoFundMe page set up by the victim’s son.