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Suspect Sought In Attempted Rape Of NYU Student In SoHo

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Police are searching for a suspect who they said tried to rape a New York University student in SoHo.

It happened around 1:15 a.m. Tuesday at Thompson Street between Spring and Prince streets as the victim was walking home from a study session, CBS 2's Lou Young reported Friday.

The suspect walked up behind a 20-year-old woman, put her in a choke hold and then tried to rape her, police said. He then took off with the woman's bag, police said.

"She was approached by an individual from behind, punched in the head and he attempted to drag her into an area. She was inappropriately touched and then the individual ran away," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

The victim was taken to the hospital and treated for injuries to her face.

The attack has left many area residents on edge.

"I'll be more guarded, definitely try not to walk home alone or anything like that," Daiana Vargas told CBS 2's Weijia Jiang.

"The street is very narrow and someone might suddenly rush out and grab you," Hope Lu added.

"I think that that's scary to think that there was a woman who was taken right off the street," SoHo resident Michelle Jessen told Young.

Other residents said they're shocked the incident happened in their typically safe neighborhood.

"You always think there's usually people around. I've always lived in the West Village and SoHo, always downtown, and there's usually people around and I know I'm always telling my family, 'oh it's perfectly safe,'" Megan Bordi said.

"It's unheard of. This is the best neighborhood in Manhattan. It's a quiet SoHo street. This is why people like living here," Emmett Burke said.

"I have two daughters the same age who walk these streets at all hours of the night and I worry," Mindy Klein told Young.

The suspect is described by police as a black male in his 20s, almost 6-foot and with long dreadlocks. He was seen on surveillance video briefly walking into a building with the victim's bag after the attack and apparently changed his clothing to alter his appearance, police said.

Police are checking other surveillance cameras in the area to see if they can get a clearer image of the suspect, Young reported.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS, visit or text tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

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