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CBS47 On Your Side: War veteran attacked by solar company representative, police searching for suspect and need public’s help


FRESNO, California (KGPE) – An 81-year-old Vietnam War veteran is hoping the public will help put the man who attacked him in jail.

Tony Costa had only recently returned to his Fresno home after being part of the Central Valley Honor Flight to Washington D.C., but last week he was nearly killed after he was hit in the head so hard he was knocked out.

“There is no good reason left in the United States if you can’t answer this little piece of paper without someone knocking you out,” said Costa.

The little piece of paper Costa is referencing is an advertisement for solar left on his doorstep. It had what appeared to be a local 559-number to call to save up to 65% on electricity costs.

Costa called the number and left a message for someone to call him back. When he got a call back it was from a Washington D.C. area code. The solar representative told Costa a female would be out later in the afternoon. Costa tells CBS47 that two men came over to his northeast Fresno home around 5:40 p.m.

“Two men walked into my house,” said Costa. “I said jokingly you don’t look like a female. They said no, no there are a bunch of us that work together.”

After some small talk, the men told Costa his house would be a perfect fit for solar. Costa declined and noticed the men looking around at the items he had inside his home, so he asked them to leave.

“I walked them out till I got under the tree, and told them I really don’t want you guys to come back. At that time, it was like he jumped up in the air and hit me so hard, I’ve never been hit this hard in my life. I was out.”

Costa tells CBS47 he was found by his neighbor on the sidewalk.

His son, Bill, is angry. “To have some young coward take advantage of an 81-year-old man is unheard of and unthinkable,” said Bill.

“This person deserves everything coming his way.”

CBS47 called the Fresno number on the advertisement. No one answered the phone and you can not leave a message. Fresno Police said detectives are looking for the suspect.

“What is something to be mindful of, is make sure you’re not letting anyone into your home,” said Lt. Mark Hudson. “Reach out to reputable companies if you’re looking for services in your home.”

The only description police have is the two men were white, in their 20’s, with a medium build. Police say they drove away in a light-colored Prius with out of state plates.

If you have any information about what company the men were representing or anything more that may help this case, you are urged to call Fresno Police Detective Rodriguez at 559-621-6310.

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CBS47 On Your Side

Do you have a problem that you need help solving? Contact CBS47 and let us be On Your Side.

Phone: 559-761-0383
Email: OnYourSide@cbsfresno.com

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