Good Samaritan Attacked in Midtown After Giving Coat to Stranger, Wild Video Shows

It happened around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday on Fifth Avenue -- and it wasn't the first time this month the suspect allegedly attacked someone who tried to help him

News 4

A good Samaritan who took off his own coat to put it on a man sleeping on a midtown Manhattan sidewalk was viciously attacked for his effort, thrown to the ground, punched and robbed by the very man he was trying to help, police say.

Video provided by a senior NYPD official shows the good Samaritan walk up to the stranger, who is sleeping on the sidewalk and tucked in a building corner on Fifth Avenue around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, when it was still frigid out.

"He's very cold. He's sleeping in the street," the good Samaritan said. "I take my jacket and put [it] on him."

The video shows the man holding his coat off and captures him try to place it over the man. That's when the sleeping man jumps up, throws him to the ground and grabs his wallet from his rear pocket. The good Samaritan tries to take his wallet back and gets punched in the face multiple times. The suspect then runs off.

A man who happened to be driving by at the time, FengLiang Wu, stopped in the middle of the street to intervene.

"They fought with each other for one or two minutes and then the criminal grabbed his money and ran away," Wu said of the exchange.

He called 911 and police caught up with the man, identified as 25-year-old Xavier Israel of Ohio, a block away. Israel was arrested on charges including robbery, grand larceny, assault, menacing and criminal possession of stolen property.

Arresting officers found about $1,500 in cash stuffed in his pants. It was the second time within a week Israel has been accused of attacking a good Samaritan.

A woman on the Upper East Side offered him help on Jan. 8 and he allegedly punched her in the face, authorities say. Six days earlier, Israel allegedly attacked another person near Central Park. Those circumstances weren't immediately clear.

Those two assault arrests this month mark Israel's only history with the NYPD, police said. It's not clear if the Ohio man is homeless or just far from home, the department added. He was arraigned in criminal court on Thursday.

Information on a possible attorney for him wasn't immediately available.

Copyright NBC New York
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