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83-Year-Old Woman Fights Off Robber With Hot Water, Broomsticks

Lillie McClendon took action when a man broke into her Houston house, demanding money.

Don't mess with this Texas grandmother.

When Lillie McClendon, 83, came face-to-face with a robber in her Houston house Sunday morning, she threw boiling hot water on him, beat him with a broomstick, and gave him a piece of her mind.

"I said, 'Your mother raised you that way? Why do you want to take advantage of an 83-year-old woman?'" McClendon told NBC News. "I thought he was about to kill me. But I'd fight him all the way."

The man broke into her house at about 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, McClendon said, shortly after she had woken up and started cooking for a family barbecue later that day. She was in the kitchen when she heard noises coming from her bedroom.

"When I opened the door, that's when he was standing there," she said. "I was scared, alright."

The man had taken one of McClendon's late husband's shirts and wrapped it around his face, leaving only his eyes visible. He grabbed her, she said, and demanded to know where her money was.

"I was boiling some sausage. I got the hot water and I threw it at him," she said.

But that didn't deter the man.

"He was still looking for the money. 'Where'd you put the money?' He kept asking me that," she said.

So McClendon upped the ante.

"I have two broomsticks, very big broomsticks, and I hit him," she said.

She then ran to her neighbor's house and called 911 while the man fled. Houston police said their robbery division is trying to find the suspect, who McClendon described as a 25-year-old man about 5'8'' tall and 150 pounds.

"It looks like he got in through a window that had burglar bars," Houston Police Department spokesman John Cannon said. "He just removed the burglar bars and entered the house through the window."

He added that police are treating the case as an attempted robbery, since the suspect didn't manage to steal anything, although he said that the man did rip McClendon's phone off the wall — which was why she had to go next door to call police.

Clarence Brandley, one of McClendon's 37 grandchildren, said he was relieved his grandmother wasn't seriously injured and described her as a feisty woman.

"She walks around the track every day," he said.

Police ask anyone with information to call Crimestoppers of Houston at 713-222-TIPS.