Knife-Wielding Robber Stalks Manhattan Laundromats, Dry Cleaners

The NYPD believes he is responsible for five robberies since late February

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    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, April 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.