Philadelphia police on Tuesday pleaded for the public’s help in identifying whoever beat and bound an 83-year-old man inside his Hunting Park home during a New Year’s Eve robbery.
”That could have been my parent and I would want something done,” Lt. Robert Brockenbrough of East Detectives said during a news conference.
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The motive was believed to be robbery and a “large sum” of money was taken, but Brockenbrough said he didn’t know if the victim was targeted because of a relative’s business or if the robbery was random.
The victim, Mauricio Gesmundo Sr., was alone when one or more assailants entered the home, beat and dragged him, tied his hands and feet, bound his mouth with duct tape, and took two safes from the bedroom of his daughter and her husband, his family said.
His daughter, Mona Liza Saludez, 47, and her husband, Arnold, returned to the home on Fairhill Street about 3 a.m. Jan. 1 after celebrating the start of the new year at a relative’s home.
They found Gesmundo lying partly in the dining room, bound and beaten, she said. They called 911.
After his condition worsened, he is now unconscious at Temple University Hospital, his family said.
Saludez’s husband, who sells electronics on eBay, estimated that he had $30,000 in the safes from the proceeds of his business, a loan he took out for it, and his life savings. But he wasn’t sure if their home was targeted because of the business.
Brockenbrough also said police don’t know if the family was targeted. He said there were no signs of forced entry.
One of the victim’s sons, Geo Gesmundo, said the family believes his father was eating about 9:30 p.m. when he heard rustling at the door and got up to open it because he thought his daughter and her husband had returned.
He said 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 Filipino community in Philadelphia. His father had worked setting up banquets at the Bellevue Hotel, and as a restaurant dishwasher, his son said.
“I just want justice for my father,” he said. “I’m sick to my stomach. Set aside he is my father, how could anyone do this to anyone?”
Added Saludez: “I’m really hurt with what happened. I hope he gets justice. I hope the people who did it go to jail.”
Anyone with information about the crime is asked to contact the Philadelphia police tip line at 215-686-TIPS (8477) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Geo Gesmundo has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for a cash reward for tipsters to come forward with information about the attack.