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Israeli Tourist Slashed On Subway Platform In Greenwich Village

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Police on Friday were searching for a suspect after an Israeli tourist was slashed on a subway platform in Greenwich Village early Friday morning.

Police said the 55-year-old man was looking at a subway map when he dozed off on a bench on the 6 train platform at the Bleecker Street station overnight.

Investigators said the man, dressed in traditional Hasidic clothing, had been traveling from Brooklyn to meet friends in the Diamond District when he got lost, CBS2's Janelle Burrell reported.

Just before 3:30 a.m., police said a man came up to him and slashed his neck, arm and hands several times before running away with the victim's cash.

Police said another man and his friend found the victim bleeding after attack. They applied pressure to his wounds until they were able to flag down a squad car.

Police said the victim only speaks Yiddish.

The victim was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center, where his condition was reported to be stable.

The suspect has been identified as a homeless man who was wearing an orange hoodie, 1010 WINS' Glenn Schuck reported. Police released video of the suspect late Friday night.

Vanessa Rehoe lives in a shelter nearby and said some are mentally unstable.

"When you're in a desperate situation, I mean who knows what drives people to do this, but it is scary," she told WCBS 880's Marla Diamond.

Meanwhile, some straphangers now feel the subway is dangerous in the late-night hours, CBS2's Ali Bauman reported.

"If it's past 11 o'clock, I just try not to take it anymore -- just because I am scared of being slashed, which is like, it's sad," said Greenwich Village resident Isabel Calkins.

"I'm not from New York, so when I got here, you kind of learn to stay on your toes a little bit; keep your eyes open," said Jordan Burke.

Calkins said action is not being taken to prevent slashings.

It's the second attack of its kind in the area this year.

Back in January, a 71-year-old grandmother was slashed and left with a four-inch gash on her face. Damon Knowles, 21, was charged in the case.

So far this year, there have been more than 1,000 stabbing or slashing incidents across the city and the number of knife attacks are up about 24 percent from this time last year.

Some who live in the area said the police presence has made them feel more secure, but the threat is still very real.

"They're just reaching out and striking anybody," one man said. "It's a serious problem. People need to be aware and watching surroundings at all time."

Calkins said insufficient action has been taken to prevent slashing attacks in the subway system.

"Because it's happened before, and at this point, nothing's been done about it -- so it's going to keep happening until they either amp up security or they find whoever this is," Calkins said. "I'm not sure if it's one person or many people, but it's scary because I do live around here."

The city has since added more police patrols in subways, stepped up NYPD presence overnight and cracked down on clubs and after hours establishments.

Police do not believe the Friday morning attack was a hate crime.

As police continued to investigate Friday's incident, No. 6 trains are bypassing Bleecker Street in both directions as late as the afternoon rush.

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