'Spitting woman' of Manhattan arrested

November 30, -0001
  • Hilda Barrionuevo, 65, whom residents of the UES say has been spitting on unsuspecting residents for years, was arrested
  • She was charged after allegedly spitting on a young boy for the fourth time in several months
  • The boy had become so scared of her that he began taking cabs, said his dad
  • The woman’s son, Gabriel Uno, 41, was arrested in a separate incident on the same day
  • Officials say the pair are homeless and mentally ill
  • Neighbors, who started a petition to get the city to act, say their complaints to police have been ignored for years  

By

Kiri Blakeley For Dailymail.com


Published:
19:10 EDT, 30 March 2017

|
Updated:
20:11 EDT, 30 March 2017

A woman notorious for spitting at passersby on the Upper East Side of Manhattan has been taken into police custody.

Hilda Barrionuevo, 65, whom authorities describe as mentally ill and homeless, is known by her neighbors for screaming at and spitting on unsuspecting pedestrians in the areas between 78th Street and 81st Street on the east side.

Residents say police have ignored their complaints about her years. 

Barrionuevo and her son Gabriel Uno, 41, who is also homeless and mentally ill, according to authorities, were arrested on Thursday.

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Hilda Barrionuevo, 65, pictured above with a garbage bag in hand, was arrested Thursday after she allegedly spit on a seven-year-old boy - neighbors said she's been terrorizing them for years with spitting and screaming. Authorities say she's mentally ill and homeless
Hilda Barrionuevo, 65, pictured above with a garbage bag in hand, was arrested Thursday after she allegedly spit on a seven-year-old boy - neighbors said she's been terrorizing them for years with spitting and screaming. Authorities say she's mentally ill and homeless

Hilda Barrionuevo, 65, pictured above with a garbage bag in hand, was arrested Thursday after she allegedly spit on a seven-year-old boy – neighbors said she’s been terrorizing them for years with spitting and screaming. Authorities say she’s mentally ill and homeless

The woman’s arrest came after she allegedly spit on a seven-year-old boy, whose father says had been spit on by her at least three times in the past, in June, December, and January, according to NBC New York.

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Barrionuevo was charged with acting in a way that is injurious to a child and stalking, according to DNA Info.

The boy’s father, Nick Goodman said his son, Nickey, had been a target of the unstable woman to the point where he was frightened and taking cabs to avoid her.

Goodman went to the police on March 29. At the time of her arrest, Barrionuevo had $19,133 in cash on her, which she told police she made from collecting recyclable bottles, reported the New York Post.

The outlet calculated that at five cents a pop, it would take 382,660 bottles to get that total.  

The woman’s son, Gabriel Uno, was arrested on the same day, for a separate incident in which he allegedly threatened a person with a table on East 81st and screamed to ‘Get the f*** out of here!’

Uno faces charges of menacing, reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon. Police say he’d been arrested eight times in the past, including a charge for assault.

Neighbors said that the woman and her son have been terrorizing the area for years and authorities have done nothing about it.

‘She would scare you,’ resident Paul Belz told NBC New York. ‘You’d be walking down the street, she always hang behind the steps – not on the stoop but behind it – and you’d usually get a nice loud spot or a scream and it would catch you off guard.’

Another neighbor said he could hear her screaming from his apartment a block away. Another said she hid behind parked cars to get out of the woman’s way.

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One fed-up local started a Facebook page dedicated to tracking Barrionuevo’s whereabouts. 

A petition was launched to get the city to take action. The petition has over 1,500 signatures and chides the NYPD and representatives for ignoring the problem.

‘This woman is not only a nuisance, but she is a threat as she is assaulting people vilely with saliva,’ the petition read. ‘She mainly spits on children, while also hissing and yelling at them. The community is tired of nothing being done … NYPD arrests other assaulters, so why not this?’ 

‘My wife and young children have had to literally run and duck into a store to avoid this woman’s aggression,’ Justin Santana wrote on the petition. ‘Our four-year-old son was scared to go outside for a few days following one particular incident.’

Police claimed they have been stymied with what to do about Barrioneuvo because she would need to commit a crime for them to take action against her.

‘If it’s a crime, we’ll enforce the law – but an individual who just needs help, we’ll get them the help they need without arresting them,’ NYPD’s 19th Precinct Captain Bill Gallagher told NBC New York.

After the petition gained attention and the media picked up the story, police moved in with an arrest.

City Councilmen Ben Kallos said the woman had been brought to a psychiatric hospital and assessed on numerous occasions, but to no avail, as a hospital can’t hold her unless she’s a threat to herself or others.

The Department of Homeless Services said it was working with other agencies to help the woman but that things like this can take a lot of time and many contacts with the homeless person. The agency also said it is trying to get her housing.

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It’s unclear if the woman will be again assessed by a psychiatric facility or spend her time in jail awaiting a hearing on her charges.  

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