NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD has asked the public for help in identifying a suspect in connection with a pair of attempted robberies in Manhattan.
On Sunday night, a 22-year-old man was riding an uptown C train near West 155th Street, when he was approached by a man brandishing a knife.
The suspect demanded the victim’s cell phone. The man attempted to grab the suspect’s knife and received a laceration to his right hand. He exited the train at the West 155th Street subway stop, and was taken to an area hospital for stitches.
The suspect allegedly struck again early Tuesday morning.
A 37-year-old man was asleep on an uptown 4 train when he felt a tug on his pants. He woke up and saw a man standing over him with a razor in hand, and noticed that his left pocket had been cut.
The victim tried to restrain the suspect, but was punched in the face.
The suspect then fled the train at the 51st Street subway station.
Police have described the suspect as a black male between 20 and 30-years-old. He is about 6′ tall with a thin build and a red flat top. He did not make off with any property in either attempt.
The knife-point robberies came as New Yorkers have grown increasingly uneasy about safety underground due to a spike in slashing attacks on the city’s subways.
According to the NYPD, so far for this year, there have been 365 slashings and stabbings citywide. For the same time last year, there were 305 — a 19.67 percent increase.
The increase has prompted the Guardian Angels to started patrolling the subways again. New Yorkers have also called on the NYPD to establish a stronger presence on trains and platforms.
“Any extra eyes in the subway is a good thing. I mean that’s what we want,” Bill Henderson, Director, MTA Riders Council said.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Tuesday, that the NYPD was working with the MTA to improve safety on the subway.
“We are looking actively and have begun discussions with the MTA and it may ultimately require potentially some legislation up in Albany that some of these career criminals that use subways to prey on victims, we find some way to exclude them as they parole and try to maintain order on the subways,” Bratton said.
The MTA board is also working with the NYPD to bring additional security measures to the subways.
Anyone with information regarding these incidents has been asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS(8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at http://www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and entering TIP577.