Breast-Feeding Mom Is Mugged at Knife Point in Manhattan Park
A 39-year-old mother was mugged while breast-feeding her infant in a leafy upper Manhattan park — but the actress said the incident will not scare her into moving out of the city.
Elena Sobina’s 6-month-old daughter, Kelly, had just fallen asleep after nursing and she was as relaxed as could be when she felt somebody standing behind her around 5:30 p.m. Friday in an observation area of Fort Tryon Park.
“I was very relaxed,” the new mom said. “I wouldn’t even think about anything like that. I had my phone in my right hand and then I felt somebody standing behind me very close. I turned my head and the guy grabbed my shoulder near my neck.”
She said it was difficult to remember exactly what happened next, but she — and her baby — were thrown to the ground.
“The baby woke up and started to scream,” she said. “She was on the ground and I was kind of above her.”
The baby had a scratch on her lip, Sobina said.
“I saw him from when I was on the ground and he had a knife in his right hand,” she said. “He started to come toward me and I started to scream, ‘Help me! Help me!’”
“He didn’t say anything, so I wasn’t sure what he wanted,” she said. “I thought he wanted to kill me and the baby. So I started to scream to him, ‘Please take my money and the bag.’”
That’s when the attacker, later identified as Juan Garcia, 31, took her bag and ran away. Sobina put the baby back in her stroller and ran in the same direction, stopping to tell her tale to a good Samaritan who called 911.
Police were able to find Garcia by tracking Sobina’s iPhone. He was charged with robbery, criminal possession of stolen property and acting in a manner injurious to a child. He was charged with possession of stolen property and criminal trespass in 2013.
Sobina said she likes the neighborhood because of the very park where she was mugged.
“I’m trying not to breast-feed outside anymore,” said Sobina, whose husband asked if she wanted to move away. “His other idea was to get a dog.”