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Man Accused Of Setting Fire To Muslim Woman's Blouse Wanted In Other Incidents, Police Say

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A man wanted for setting a Muslim woman's sleeve on fire may be responsible for two other similar attacks in midtown Manhattan over the weekend, police said.

Around 8:45 p.m. Saturday, police said a woman was walking on Fifth Avenue near 57th Street when someone tried to light her leg on fire. The victim was described by police as white and in modern clothes.

About 15 minutes later, police said a 35-year-old woman from Scotland, who was wearing traditional Muslim attire, was window shopping on Fifth Avenue outside the Valentino store when she felt something warm on her left arm and saw her sleeve was on fire.

She patted out the flames and noticed a man standing next to her with a lighter in his hand, police said. The suspect is seen in surveillance video casually walking away from the crime scene down 54th Street in a group with other young people, CBS2's Dave Carlin reported.

The woman from Scotland is staying in New York City longer to help with the investigation.

"I can't imagine something like this happening to someone -- a fellow woman," Manisha Berwala said.

Tyvonna Johnson said, "Today, women are really being targeted and it's not good."

Just a few minutes later, police said two women were heading down to the Bryant Park subway station when a man was holding a lit lighter close to her arm.

All three victims said the stranger who attacked them ran and did not say a word.

The NYPD Hate Crime Task Force is investigating to see if a bias toward Muslims motivated the attack. Police say the other women who were attacked were white and Hispanic, and were wearing modern, mainstream clothing, Carlin reported. Police sources said the victims may have been selected randomly and the hate crime assignment could change.

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782), visit or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

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