The victim of an unprovoked attack last week says she surprised herself in the moment by fighting back against a man who was attempting to steal her purse. 

The 50-year-old woman, whose identity CBC has agreed to conceal, was walking alone in a parking garage after work on Friday, Nov. 17 at approximately 6:30 p.m., when a man approached her and sprayed her with an unknown substance, possibly pepper spray. 

She said she had no idea that anyone was following her and that the attack came "out of the blue." 

"I hold onto the purse, and he started physically assaulting, putting me on the ground and started beating," she remembered in an interview with CBC Toronto on Thursday.

"He drags me towards the door which now automatically opens, and I was screaming so people heard me. They came along and he fled," she said. 

Toronto police are asking for the public's help to identify the suspect and released security camera footage from the parking garage near Bay and College streets where the incident occurred.

"I don't think she was targeted. However, he's hanging around in the area carrying pepper spray so I think he's looking to rob somebody," said Det. Const. Chris Hominuk of 52 Division.

He's hoping that someone who sees the video will recognize the suspect and call in. 

The victim, who was hospitalized for minor injuries, says she's still "bruised, sore, and thinking, should I have done something different?"

Chris Hominuk

"He tried to grab her purse, she wouldn't let go of her purse, she held on for dear life," said Det. Const. Chris Hominuk. (CBC )

She said her memory of the incident was "fragmented" and that watching the security footage back came as a shock.

"The guy was twice my size. Yes, I surprised myself. I don't know how I got that strength to fight back," she said. 

Police describe the suspect as a male with a brown complexion, aged 35 to 45. He was wearing a brown jacket and beige pants.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 416-808-5200 or Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS.