The attack set off a search of the area by police, but the suspect wasn't found, Glendale Police Officer John Balian said.
"When suspects start targeting our elderly, we are very concerned," he said.
The attack reportedly left the woman with a 2-inch bump on her forehead and minor abrasions.
"It could have been worse," Balian said. "Thankfully, when he got the purse, he left the area."
The woman told police that the man — described as being in his 20s and wearing a baggy, black sweatshirt with dark pants and glasses — bumped his skateboard into the back of her feet several times as he followed her on the sidewalk and into the building, according to the police report.
Three men who had witnessed the attack from across the street reportedly chased the man in their car as he ran east on East Wilson Avenue and then south on North Isabel Street with the woman's purse in hand, directly in front of the main police station.
When the man reached the intersection with East Broadway, he dropped the purse, but kept the wallet containing about $70 in cash and numerous bank cards before he fled out of sight, according to witness reports.
Police investigators are in the process of accessing footage from a video surveillance camera located in the lobby of the apartment building where the attack occurred, which so far is the strongest lead police have in the case, Balian said.
"We definitely need the public's help on this one," he said.
Anyone with information on the attack is encouraged to call the anonymous police tip hotline at (818) 507-7867.