TAMPA — For the second time in four years, Filda Rivera was robbed Monday in her home day care.
This time, the 64-year-old grandmother was punched in the head and knocked unconscious, Tampa police said. Three toddlers in her care were with her at the time.
The robber, who got away, took her watch and $50, police said.
"I can't understand how a man would attack a woman taking care of kids like that," said neighbor Dolores Campese, who called the situation unbelievable.
According to police reports, Rivera was in the back yard of her home day care with the three children when the man jumped the back fence about 10 a.m. and demanded money.
Rivera gave him $50 that she kept in a kitchen cabinet, but the robber wanted more.
Police said he took her watch, then hit her in the head, causing her to lose consciousness for about 25 minutes.
The children left the house at 1005 Robson St. after the robber fled.
"He must have left the gate open, and that's how the kids got out," said Rivera's son, Carlos Rivera. He said his mother usually has six children, ages 2 to 4, in her care.
None of the children were injured. A construction worker helping with an expansion to the front of the day care center found the three toddlers in the street, Carlos Rivera said.
One of the children was Jayden Benjamin Gonzalez, who turns 2 in May.
"I was really concerned," said his mother, Vanessa Gonzalez, 24, as she picked him up from the day care. "What parent isn't? I came running."
Police were still searching for the robber late Monday. He is described as a Spanish-speaking black male, 5 feet 5 to 5 feet 6, in his early to mid 30s, clean-shaven with short hair. He has a tattoo of a flower and a dagger on his right arm and was last seen wearing black jeans and a black T-shirt, police said.
Rivera is expected to recover.
According to police reports, in April 2004 a man and woman knocked on her door under the guise of enrolling their child in her day care. The man pulled a gun and put it to Filda Rivera's throat.
"They came in and jacked her," said Carlos Rivera.
The Riveras installed surveillance cameras after that, he said. But with the construction going on, he said, the cameras were disconnected during Monday's attack.
Amber Mobley can be reached
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