The New York City Police Department (NYPD) is hunting for a man who allegedly molested and attempted to rape a woman in an elevator after she refused his proposals for sex.

The incident is said to have taken placed at around 9.30am local time (2.30pm BST) on Tuesday (24 October) at an apartment building in East Harlem, New York.

The accused reportedly grabbed the 28-year-old victim moments after the two stepped into an elevator of the building, the authorities said, according to New York Daily News website.

The brave woman struggled to fight off his advances and then sent the elevator back to the building lobby. But once the elevator arrived at the lobby, the man threw her to the ground and began ripping her clothes off.

The woman managed to scratch the man's face during the struggle, causing him to bleed. The man then fled from the building, police said.

Police sources told NY Daily News that the man had offered the woman money for sex during a conversation the two had earlier that day. It is not clear where the conversation had taken place, and whether the woman lived in the building.

On Thursday (26 October), a surveillance footage showing the man in the building's lobby was released by the police.

The accused has been described as a black, around 40 years, 5-foot-9 inches and 180 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair. At the time of the incident, he was wearing a black hat, black sneakers, black jacket and black jeans.

The NYPD has asked anyone with information to call the Crime Stoppers programme that allows people to anonymously provide information about criminal activity.