MIDTOWN — The mom of one of the five female victims of Saturday's lighter-burning spree in Midtown chased off her attackers after her teen daughter's T-shirt was set ablaze, police said.
Police were initially investigating the incidents as possible anti-religious attacks since one of the victims was a Muslim woman wearing a hijab when her blouse was set on fire in front of the Valentino store at 693 Fifth Ave. at about 9 p.m.
But investigators have since connected the attack to four others and none of the other victims was wearing traditional religious clothing, NYPD Chief of Detectives Bob Boyce said Thursday.
Investigators now believe the attacks on the women were linked only to their gender.
In one instance, the pair set a teenage girl's T-shirt fire as she walked with her mom past 127 W. 42nd St. about 8 p.m., police said. They were chased off by the girl's mother, police said.
Police are looking for at least two teenage males who may be connected to the Sept. 10 attacks, after multiple women were assaulted by suspects using a lighter in Midtown on Saturday, Boyce said.
Both men appeared to be about 16 years old and one wore a black tank top while the other had a white T-shirt, Boyce said.
Investigators are also looking to question a man and three women in connection to the attacks, they said. The trio are considered persons of interest, but not suspects, officials said.
None of the lighter-burn victims was seriously injured.
Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477).