PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Over the past few weeks, two teenage girls have been attacked on the subway system without provocation.
Acting SEPTA Police Chief Charles Lawson described one of the incidents as a "disgusting unprovoked attack on a student from Central High School."
"The pattern between both victims were they were Asian students. There was no verbalization between the victims and the suspect at all, so it makes it a little harder to pinpoint a specific reason," said Lawson.
That pattern is leading police to investigate the attacks as possible hate crimes.
SEPTA police say that they have video images of the man responsible. Investigators are working to make an arrest after the 27-year-old man was seen on video attacking two female high school students on SEPTA's system during the morning rush hour.
"The suspect grabs the student by the throat and throws her to the ground and immediately leaves the area," said Lawson.
The attack happened around 7 a.m. on September 9 at the Walnut-Locust Station. Authorities say the 17-year-old female Central High School student was thrown to the ground and choked.
Four days later, a 13-year-old student from Masterman School was attacked at 7:35 a.m. at the City Hall Station.
"The second incident, the suspect gets off the train delivered a couple of strikes to the student on the face and the body area," said Lawton.
SEPTA says it has flooded the system with officers and outreach persons at the height of travel.
"7 to 9 a.m. in addition to that 2 to 5 p.m. during school dismissal and evening rush hour," said Lawton.
Riders say they need more help.
"It's uncomfortable," said Tyche Matthews of West Philadelphia.
"Especially walking around with a baby, it's not safe at all," said Maya of North Philadephia.
SEPTA says in this case, once a warrant is issued they'll be able to make a quick arrest.
As for issues on the system, Lawson says to look for outreach workers in yellow vests for help.
Riders can also use the SEPTA police transit app to report issues. It's a direct connection to dispatch.