NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A woman fought off an attacker on Thursday night in the Lower East Side, and police believe the attacker may be the same perpetrator from a similar incident last year.

In the most recent attack, police said an unknown male suspect followed a 17-year-old female into an elevator of an apartment building in the Lower East Side at 10 p.m. The suspect forced the victim out of the elevator with a knife and into a stairwell where he attempted to sexually assault her.

The victim fought off the suspect who then fled the scene.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Kathleen Maloney reports on residents’ concerns about the incidents

In the previous incident, police said a man, also armed with a knife, forced a 19-year-old female out of an elevator of another Lower East Side apartment building at 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 18, 2010 and into a stairwell before sexually assaulting her. The suspect then fled down the stairs in an unknown direction.

That victim was taken to a local hospital where she was treated and released.

Police described the suspect as 17 to 25 years old, 5-feet-8-inches to 5-feet-10-inches tall and heavy set with a dark complexion.

“It’s scary that it’s in my neighborhood and that obviously he’s attacking young women following them into their homes where we feel you’re the most safe,” Clinton Street resident Carlina said.

In the first incident, the suspect was wearing a black Northface jacket, blue jeans and black boots. In the second incident, the suspect was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans.

Police are asking that anyone with information in regards to this incident call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).

The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

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