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Police: Man Wanted For Robbing Women At Lower Manhattan Subway Station

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The NYPD is searching for a robbery suspect who appears to be targeting women at a Lower Manhattan subway station.

On Tuesday, CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis got a look at new video from the Brooklyn Bridge/Chambers Street station.

A woman is seen trapped in a subway turnstile gate, struggling with a man who is trying to snatch her purse. If you watch the surveillance clip closely from the beginning, the suspect lingers, waits for the 23-year-old to swipe her MetroCard and then closes in.

"That could have been my mother, my sister, my brother. It could have been anybody. You've gotta help people," said commuter Tinia Joynes of Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Police are searching for a man accused of robbing two women at the same subway station in Lower Manhattan. (Credit: NYPD)

Joynes said if she was at the station when the happened on Saturday night, she would have helped. However, she said she believes the suspect chose 10 p.m. as his time to strike because fewer people were around.

"You gotta be careful because they're watching you. They're waiting for you to go through that door so they can lock you in. She wasn't aware of her surroundings," Joynes said.

Police said it marked the second time in a little over a month the man captured on video robbed a young woman at different entryways of the same station.

"For women, we are the most vulnerable," said Cynthia Stenson of East Harlem. "You have to be alert. Think about where you're going, walk the extra block so this kind of stuff doesn't happen. It's terrible."

In the October incident, police said a 21-year-old woman was cornered by the suspect in the stairwell as she made her way into the subway station.

This time armed with a knife, which he appears to be holding in his left hand on the video, investigators said he demanded money and got away with $25.

According to NYPD statistics, as of Dec. 1, robberies in transit are at 486 citywide. That's up from 436 over the same period last year.

Overall, however, crime in transit is down 3.7%.

New Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said on the radio Tuesday morning combating all transit crime is a top priority of his.

"When we do catch somebody committing a crime on the subway, and it's a crime that really traumatizes victims, to be able to have that individual get out of the system immediately and come right back into the system seems, to me, a little bit crazy. So, that's going to be a focal point," Shea said.

Police will be working with transit officials, prosecutors, and the public to fix the problem. With that, if you recognize the suspect in these crimes, you are asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or 1-888-57-PISTA (74782) for Spanish. You can also submit a tip via the Crime Stoppers website, by tweeting @NYPDTips or by texting 274637.

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