NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some taxi drivers are on edge as the search continues for a man on a bicycle who police say has been reaching into the open windows of cabs and grabbing cash.
The NYPD says the man is responsible for at least seven robberies throughout Manhattan since June. In each case, police said he approaches a stopped taxi on a bicycle and then reaches into an open window and into the driver’s shirt pocket and stealing cash.
Police released surveillance video from one of the robberies that happened in the area of Park Avenue South and East 18th Street just before 3:30 p.m. on July 25.
In the video, the taxi can be seen stopped in traffic with the windows down when the man on a bike pulls up beside the cab. The suspect is then seen reaching in and grabbing whatever he can, catching the driver off guard.
A stack of cash then falls to the ground as the suspect, holding on to a few dollars, takes off on his bike, CBS2’s Magdalena Doris reported.
During another incident two days later on July 27, police said he punched a 46-year-old driver in the face at Waverly Place and Christopher Street before taking off with $200.
Police said in that case, he left his bicycle at the scene, which was later determined to be stolen. In total, police say the suspect has grabbed about $550.
The robberies have left some cab drivers concerned.
“It hasn’t happened to me yet, but I hope it doesn’t in the future,” said driver Pemba Sherpa. “I usually keep my windows up and doors locked, that’s a protection.”
“I don’t keep much money in my pocket,” said driver Helal Ahmed. “I know sometimes things like this happen.”
“We try to be alert always but if it happens it happens, you cant stop it. But they really need to get the guy,” another driver told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond.
Ahmed said he may reconsider where he puts money after watching the video.
“It’s kind of dangerous here but we have to do it,” Ahmed said. “We have no choice. We have family here, kids, wife.”
Other drivers say although the city is getting safer, their profession often puts them in danger of being robbed. Nidiaga Cisse has permanent damage after his ordeal more than a decade ago.
“Three guys, they get in and attack me,” he said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782), visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.