NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Police are searching for the suspect in a bizarre attempted rape in East Harlem.
The victim didn't back down. She fought off her attacker and pushed him out the door, CBS2's Dave Carlin reported Sunday.
A battle of wills ended with a 22-year-old woman safe and a man on the run.
Video surveillance shows a tallish man who believed to be in his early 30s standing just outside the glass front door to the building on East 128th Street at around 4:45 a.m. on Sunday.
The victim is seen letting the man in, and police said he immediately groped her. As he grabs her throat, the smaller but tough victim bravely fights back, grabbing his throat and forcing him back out the door.
"That this woman was able to fight, that's why you teach women how to fight back. And I think it's amazing," neighbor Najae Williams said.
As a parting shot, he is seen throwing something in her face. The building's superintendent told CBS2's Carlin why he knows it was a hamburger.
"I cleaned up some of it last night," Ozie Carty said.
The victim made sure the suspect knew she meant business by flashing a knife at him as he peered at her from the other side of the door.
Then, perhaps unwisely, she re-openes the door with knife in hand and he finally leaves.
Residents who live on this block said they don't like the scaffolding that's in front of this building, adding it has been up for two years. They said it gives criminals some easy places to hide before they pounce.
"It's not well lit. It's very little covering. It's like who sees these things? So I guess he took a chance to go in there, nobody's going to see him," neighbor Angelita Ortega said.
Police are reminding everyone not to open doors to strangers.
Neighbors said Sunday morning's incident reminds them of that, and that immediately fighting back can save the day.
"I just try teach my daughter, my sisters, don't let anybody try to take advantage," neighbor Etienne Williams said.
The brave victim suffered a cut that did not require a hospital visit, Carlin reported.
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