The NYPD is asking the public for help in solving a string of Manhattan robberies at laundromats and dry cleaning businesses. Anyone with information in regards to these robberies is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). (Published Tuesday, Apr 1, 2014)
Police are looking for a knife-wielding man who has robbed a string of laundromats and dry cleaners on the east side of Manhattan in the last six weeks, in one case punching a 71-year-old woman in the face.
The woman, Chu Kian Chang, is still recovering at the hospital with a swollen eye and bruises to the face, her son told NBC 4 New York.
Police say the suspect entered a cleaner on East 29th Street in Kips Bay on March 27 and demanded money. When Chang refused, he allegedly assaulted her.
"They punched my mother a couple times and pushed her down on the floor," said Chang's son, who asked not to be named.
He showed a picture of his mother, whose bruises were apparently still very raw days after the attack.
The NYPD says the robberies began Feb. 22 when the suspect walked into a laundromat on East 26th Street in Kips Bay at about 8 p.m. and made off with $300.
The owner of that laundromat, Ratana Phatiwit, says she's glad she didn't fight back.
"In the beginning I was upset that I didn't fight," she said. "After you show me the picture, I see I'm lucky."
A few days later, he hit a dry cleaner on East 70th Street on the Upper East Side, taking $200.
On March 12, he walked into a cleaner on East 24th Street in Gramercy Park, took $300 and punched someone in the face.
On March 27, two days after he allegedly punched Chang at her business, he took $500 from the register at a laundromat on East 81st Street.
Phatiwit has installed cameras at her own business and posted a sign warning against anyone preying on the small business.
Police released a surveillance photo of the suspect (above) and ask anyone with information about the robberies to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477).
-- Brynn Gingras contributed to this report.
Published at 3:18 PM EDT on Apr 1, 2014