By CBSNewYork Team

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police are looking for the suspect in a brazen Central Park robbery.

Video shows a woman sitting on a park bench when a man walks up and tries to take her iPhone.

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The 40-year-old victim attempts to fight off the robber. That’s when he punches in her face and runs.

Moments later, a witness can be seen trying to trip the attacker as he makes his escape.

Police are looking for a man who allegedly punched a woman in the face and stole her iPhone in Central Park on June 11, 2021. (Credit: NYPD Crime Stoppers)

It happened in the busy northeast corner of Central Park near East 110th Street just after 10 a.m. Friday, and it was all seen by NYPD security cameras.

CBS2’s Nick Caloway showed the footage to stunned park-goers.

“That’s really a shame. It’s happening everywhere,” Lower East Side resident Venus Mariani said.

“It shocks me. It shocks me,” a Harlem resident named Terri said.

For park regulars, it’s a stark reminder that crime can happen any time, anywhere.

“And in broad daylight. That’s terrible. I’ve never seen anything like that here,” Terri said.

“When I’m with my daughter, I always pay attention to who’s around us, who’s playing with her, who I’m sitting next to. You’ve got to pay mind to your surroundings, always,” Harlem resident Louis Pauljajoute said.

It’s crimes like this that have some residents feeling vulnerable just walking around the city. Venus Mariani is one of them.

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“That’s why I carry my mace. My mace,” she said.

“You carry that around all the time?” Caloway asked.

“All the time. I don’t leave home without it,” Mariani said.

While Caloway was interviewing Mariani, NYPD officers passed on patrol, but she says the city needs to do more to make people feel safe.

“De Blasio needs to clean up his act, OK? And he needs to pay attention to what’s going on,” Mariani said.

After Friday’s robbery and attack on the woman in Central Park, police are hoping someone recognizes the suspect.

He’s about 5-feet-5-inches tall and 140-150 pounds with a light complexion. He has light gray facial hair and was wearing a purple hoodie.

Most of the people Caloway talked to say that area of the park is family-friendly and safe and one robbery won’t deter them from coming back.

The victim refused medical attention at the scene. Police are still looking for the suspect.

Anyone who has information regarding this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-8477 or for Spanish, 1-888-577-4782. Tips can also be sent to the NYPDTips Twitter account or submitted online at

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CBS2’s Nick Caloway contributed to this report.

CBSNewYork Team