By Leela de Kretser and Della Hasselle
MANHATTAN — Police hunting a mugger who attacked at least five victims in just three days released a surveillance footage of him casually strolling away from his fifth victim.
The video shows him walking along East 78th Street on Thanksgiving Day. He's just threatened a woman with a knife, police said.
A cowardly mugger is preying on woman on the Upper East Side, attempting to rob at least five victims in the past three days inside their apartment buildings, police said.
The mugger's spree is thought to have started when he tried to rob a 26-year-old woman on Wednesday about noon inside an apartment building on East 79th Street, police said. He allegedly grabbed the woman from behind and told her to remain silent. When she screamed, he ran without taking anything.
A couple of hours later, a 25-year-old woman wasn't so lucky. She was walking down the stairs of a building on East 69th Street when police said the mugger forced her back into her apartment and robbed her of jewelry and an undisclosed sum of money.
Later that evening, the mugger struck again on East 93rd Street, police said. He allegedly demanded money from a 35-year-old woman in the vestibule of her apartment building. When she screamed, he ran away again.
On Thanksgiving, a 56-year-old woman was grabbed from behind in the vestibule of her East 89th Street apartment building, police said. The man allegedly put his hand over her mouth and demanded money. When she screamed, he pushed her to the ground and ran away.
A few hours later, a 26-year-old woman was checking her mail in the lobby of an East 78th Street building when police said the suspect approached her from behind and said, "I have a knife, am not going to hurt you. I just want your money."
He stole money, a watch and an iPod, police said. A security camera filmed him as he left.
In response to the muggings, the crime fighting, citizen volunteer group the Guardian Angels will begin patrolling the neighborhood, according to member Benjamin "E.Q." Garcia.
They are also offering self-defense classes, a service that the group also offered in Upper Manhattan recently, if women in the Upper East Side request it, Garcia said.
"We only ask the ladies to walk with us to let the negative element know that this is our community and that there's no one in this planet that's going to put fear into us," Garcia added.
"We're going to try and find him before he hurts someone."
Garcia also started patrols in Inwood this week, and says that the Guardian Angels will travel wherever necessary to protect communities in New York.
"Wherever there's major crimes that happen and I find out about it, I will be there," Garcia said.
Those interested in participating in the patrols can contact the Guardian Angels at 917-560-2236.
The suspect is described by police as a black man in his 30s, between 6 ft and 6 ft, 2 inches tall, weighing about 220 pounds. Police said he appeared to be bald and clean shaven.