A man who attempted to steal a bus passenger's cell phone on Sunday was hospitalized after the passenger stabbed him.

Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said the incident took place after a black male attempted to steal the cell phone of another man who fell asleep while riding on the No. 92 bus through Northeast Washington toward the Duke Ellington Bridge.

But the sleeping passenger woke up during the robbery attempt, and a verbal altercation soon gave way to a fight.

Stessel said the passenger stabbed the would-be robber in the side, though the wounds weren't life threatening. The robber may face criminal charges after authorities complete their investigation, he said.

The passenger who stabbed the man fled the scene and headed northbound on Eighth Street NE. Stessel said the man was thought to be between 30 and 40 years old, with a slim build and acne, wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt.

A spokesman for D.C. police said Metro would handle the investigation.