It happened in a mall parking deck during the lunch hour Tuesday.
The man walked out of the mall's food court and before he could shut the door to his car, a man block the door.
A few words were exchanged and the suspect repeatedly hit the man in the head with his fist.
"It's hard to imagine, you know, how someone could be that desperate actually to attack someone that old," shopper Gary Stewart.
Stewart sometimes shops at Crabtree, but he says he's never thought about being attacked. Like most customers he feels secure.
Cameras are everywhere at the mall. A camera pod looms above the area where the man was attacked.
"You think of Raleigh as being safe and secure and everything else and Crabtree as being, you know, just good old American mall," Stewart said. "No, you don't think about it much."
Stewart and even the victim know the crime could have happened anywhere. And with the suspect still on the loose, he could strike again although mall officials say they're confident their police department will catch him.
"Certainly you don't want to live in fear, you know," Stewart said. "But, obviously too, you want to be careful and be aware of things like that-- unusual circumstances and so on."
Crabtree Valley Mall officials are reluctant to release many details like whether the crime was captured on video for fear of compromising the investigation.