MANHATTAN, NY (PIX11)—A terrifying pattern of robberies has emerged on the Lower East Side. Women in their 20's and 30's are being targeted by a knife wielding thug who's attacking to grab their purses, cell phones, and wallets. This is the guy cops say has a good chunk of Manhattan on edge—a robber who is grabbing women, holding them at knifepoint, and demanding their valuables.
Isabelle Drycurgh of Boerum Hill, Brooklyn was quick to say, “That's kind of freaky."
Erika Hand lives on East 18th Street where she says an attacker has struck twice. "I think if you're going to be afraid that's just a mentality. I'm not going to be afraid.”
Those are the mixed reactions from potential targets -- women who live, work, and play in the neighborhoods where the robber is prowling for victims. Police say he's attacked five women over three days last month. The attacks happened at East 18th and 6th Streets, Houston and 2nd Avenue, the Village and as far south as Wall Street. Two attacks happened right outside Erika Hand's building, which she had considered safe until now.
“I was just raised to always watch my back. You hear stories -- (I) don't wear hair in a ponytail, keep keys in hand when getting off train,” Hand said.
Each time the suspect strikes he's wielding a knife, frequently coming up from behind and covering their mouth his hand. So far he's been targeting white and light skinned women and grabbing their cell phones and purses. He's described as a black man in his 30's, 6 feet tall weighing 200 pounds. The most disconcerting thing in the robberies for most women--several times he's struck in broad daylight, when most feel they are safe on the streets.
Paula Dezkauritza was walking the neighborhood of Houston and 2nd Avenue and said, “I don't know why but, I think it would be at night, not during the day."
But one local man who gave cops video from his surveillance camera has a warning for this attacker. "A lot of people gotta be careful because if they do something here, we can watch them. Then we can catch them. And then it's going to be a hard time for them," vowed Manny Jiminez.