NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Residents of a Lower Manhattan neighborhood are on edge after police said a man attacked an elderly woman inside her building.

It happened around 12:50 p.m. Thursday at an apartment building on Beekman Street.

Police said a man followed an 81-year-old woman into the elevator of her building. He then followed her off the elevator and grabbed her before forcing her into the stairwell, police said.

That’s when police said he grabbed her purse, stole money and tried to rape her before leaving the scene. Investigators said the elderly victim refused medical attention.

News of the incident was unsettling for many who live and work nearby.

“Definitely going to be cautious about what’s going on in the neighborhood,” Ernita Gantt, who works in the area, told CBS2’s Andrea Grymes. “I think it’s completely outrageous and I hope they find the perpetrator.”

“An 81-year-old lady, man? Come on, that’s something you’re supposed to respect” said resident Ralph Garcia. “You’re supposed to respect your elders.”

Residents said the building’s management company sent out an alert.

“So that everyone was informed that the incident had happened,” one woman told 1010 WINS’ Derricke Dennis.

The NYPD released surveillance video of the suspect along with an image of a hat similar to the one they said he was wearing at the time of the incident.

An image of a hat police say is similar to the one worn by a suspect wanted in connection with an attempted rape of an elderly woman in Lower Manhattan on Dec. 4, 2014. (credit: NYPD)

An image of a hat police say is similar to the one worn by a suspect wanted in connection with an attempted rape of an elderly woman in Lower Manhattan on Dec. 4, 2014. (credit: NYPD)

Police describe him as a 20-year-old black man, about 5′ 6″ weighing 150 pounds.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

Check Out These Other Stories From CBSNewYork.com:
[display-posts category=”news” wrapper=”ul” posts_per_page=”4″]