NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The search continues for the man who police said slashed a restaurant worker in the face in Greenwich Village.
Diners inside the Silver Spurs restaurant on LaGuardia Place described the panic in the moments after one of the busboys was slashed.
"We were just sitting inside and eating and all of a sudden we just saw cops coming from everywhere and someone was screaming, people were screaming," one customer said.
Around 8 p.m. Wednesday, police said a man entered Silver Spurs going table to table, trying to raise money for a basketball team.
Investigators said Bobby Barbot, a 25-year-old busboy, asked the man to leave, escorting him out of the restaurant. When Barbot returned, he had a gash on his cheek. Police said the suspect had slashed him and then ran off.
"For all intents and purposes, it looks like a scam to get money out of people that he asks people to invest in a basketball league," NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said.
CBS2's Tracee Carrasco spoke with the victim's girlfriend late Thursday. Nicole Fontanez was still trying to make sense of the violent slashing that left her boyfriend – Bobby Barbot, 25 – with 137 stitches on his face.
"At the moment, he's just trying to rest up and trying to heal," Fontanez said.
She said her boyfriend was not confrontational.
"He just asked him to please leave," Fontanez said. "It was just a nice way, and then the guy was like, 'Oh, whatever,' and he got rowdy and he said, 'I'll be back.'"
Barbot was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center to be treated for his injury. He needed 137 stitches to his face.
"He didn't expect the guy to, you know, just slice him," Fontanez said. "It just happened very quickly."
Barbot himself told CBS2 he wasn't ready to talk about what happened, but he did say "I'm alive" and that he will be fine.
Police describe the suspect as being around 5'7," is believed to be between 15 and 17 years old and black or Hispanic. According to police, the suspect was last seen wearing a grey hoodie and was carrying a small gym bag with a purple folder. Officials released a surveillance photo of the unknown male Thursday afternoon.
CBS2's Sonia Rincon reports surveillance cameras inside the diner weren't working.
Silver Spurs manager Andy Pirgousis praised Barbot.
"Everybody loves him. He's a good kid," Pirgousis told CBS2.
He said Barbot plans to return to work on Monday.
One woman who works as a waitress in at Silver Spurs said it's not unusual for kids to come in and ask for donations.
"He was soliciting," she said. "People are eating, he didn't want anybody bothering people while they were eating."
Restaurant worker Antonio Ibanez told CBS2 that Barbot has had to deal with problem customers before.
"Sometimes people come around looking for money, something like that, but they leave. This has never happened before," Ibanez said.
Residents in the neighborhood said they'll now be paying closer attention.
"I live in the neighborhood, this is usually a very safe neighborhood," one person said. "This is really, really shocking."
Wednesday's incident is the seventh reported slashing in the city this month, CBS2's Janelle Burrell reported.
Tuesday morning, a livery cab driver was slashed in the face after a quarrel with a passenger in Washington Heights. His injury required 60 stitches from his ear along his jawline to his chin.
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