Residents in Manhattan’s posh Upper East Side launched a petition demanding that New York City’s elected officials address the issue of a mentally unstable homeless woman who allegedly spits on people, including children, and screams at them.
Prior to her arrest on Thursday, Hilda Barrionuevo, 65, had been seen in the area for years, but locals began tracking her movements via a Facebook group to aid people in avoiding her attacks.
According to police, Barrionuevo was arrested for spitting on a 7-year-old boy three times over a period of several months. His parents contacted officials after hearing media reports about the woman’s attacks.
Barrionuevo was taken into custody along with her son. Police found $19,000 in cash in her possession at the time of her arrest, allegedly accumulated from bottle-and-can collections over the years.
Barrionuevo’s son, 41-year-old Gabriel Uno faces charges of menacing, reckless endangerment, and criminal possession of a weapon stemming from an incident in which he threatened a person with a part of a table and yelled, “Get the [expletive] out of here” on March 19.
Uno has been arrested eight times before, including for assault. Sources say that mother and son are homeless and considered mentally ill.
Residents of the Upper East Side claim that Barrionuevo has menaced them for years.
“She would scare you,” said Paul Belz. “You’d be walking down the street … she’d always hang behind the steps — not on the stoop, but behind it — and you’d usually get a nice loud spit or a scream and it would catch you off guard.”
“Spitting and screaming, like, very loud, very loud screaming … that if a mother and kids are passing by, they jump,” said Sidney Cohen. “I jump when I hear her.”
Neighbors reported that Barrionuevo and Uno often took shelter under a restaurant awning and showered on the street using a hose.
Hilda Barrionuevo has been released without bail, and the Department of Homeless Services does not have the power to hold her.
The department said in a statement, “It can take anywhere from one dozen to more than 200 contacts to bring homeless New Yorkers indoors.”
H/T: NBC New York
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