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Asian can collector, 77, punched in face on Orchard St.

Collecting cans can be a dangerous business.

Police are seeking the public’s help in identifying a man who assaulted an elderly can collector on the Lower East Side on Sun., Sept. 12, knocking him to the ground with a hard punch to the face.

Cops said that early that morning, around 2 a.m., a 77-year-old Asian man was on the sidewalk in front of 180 Orchard St., midblock between E. Houston and Stanton Streets, when he got into a verbal dispute with a younger man over “collection of cans from [the] garbage.”

According to a police spokesperson, “The suspect became angry over cans being left all over the sidewalk and then punched the victim in the face.”

The victim refused medical attention. The unidentified man fled on foot.

While the victim was definitely a can collector, the spokesperson said it wasn’t immediately clear from his information what the aggressor was.

While the victim was Asian, the spokesperson said that, at this time, the attack is not being treated as a hate crime. That could mean that the attacker never uttered any anti-Asian comments.

Police released surveillance video of the incident.

Police ask that anyone with information call the N.Y.P.D.’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). Tips can also be submitted on the Crime Stoppers Web site at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org or on Twitter at @NYPDTips. All tips are strictly confidential.

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