It happened about 1:30 a.m. Monday.
The victim woke up to use the bathroom and saw a man standing outside her bedroom. He was holding his hand in his jacket as if he was armed.
The woman talked to him and convinced him to go downstairs so she can get her purse.
Lucerne Drive is known as a quiet, safe place to live in Detroit's Palmer Park neighborhood. However, one elderly woman who lives alone had to run to her neighbor's place to call police after the man showed up and demanded money.
"Just imagine, her neighbors, they still have to come a ways. What if he was chasing here? I know she still had her bed clothes on. It's cold," said Roshan Graddy, who lives in the neighborhood.
Graddy's mother and grandmother both live on Lucerne Drive. Graddy says she is worried for their safety.
"My grandmother's here most of the day by herself because my mom works, so she's home by herself. That scares me. I feel like I need to come more often during the day and check on here," she said.
In this case, the victim thought quickly. She told the intruder that her money was in her wallet downstairs so she could get away. When the man reached the main floor, she fled.
"She did exactly everything right. She knew her home. She knew how to get out quickly. She knew where to go, to neighbors who were home, and she could get some assistance," said Detroit Police Sgt. Michael Woody.
The suspect is described as a black man about 35 or 40 years old, standing about 5 feet 10 inches and weighing about 180 pounds.
Police say it doesn't appear anything actually was taken.
Detroit police: Give robber what he wants
At this point, Detroit police say to give the robber whatever he or she wants, hoping that makes them leave much quicker.
Security cameras are a good way to protect yourself. Invest in a high-quality camera because police need to see details to help solve the crime.