Mario Licato, 26, tells PEOPLE he was walking down the subway stairs at the corner of Essex and Delancey streets on Saturday while going to a friend's show when a man suddenly punched him.
"I just saw a fist coming at my face," Licato says. "And the next thing I know I was, like, falling down the stairs and all I heard was, 'That's because you look exactly like Shia LaBeouf.' "
Licato tells PEOPLE that he was "out cold" for a second and awoke to find his face covered in blood and his glasses broken. He says a couple who witnessed the incident described the assailant as a six-foot or six-foot-three, muscular, "white frat boy."
Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
"I was like, 'Am I crazy? Or did he just say that happened because I look like Shia LaBeouf?' And they were like, 'That's exactly what he said," Licato recounts.
He says the couple helped him to his feet and both the police and EMT officials arrived. Authorities plan to look at surveillance photos from the location, Licato says, adding that he hopes "they figure out who the crazy person was."
"I would basically just say, 'So what did Shia LaBeouf ever do to you that you wanted to punch him in the face? Was it one of his performance pieces?' " he says. "Did this guy steal his girlfriend? Like, what did he do so bad that he wanted to punch somebody that looked like him?"
The 26-year-old says he has been told he resembles the embattled actor "a bunch of times" – "10 times I would say, at least," Licato tells PEOPLE.
Licato, who says his left eye is swollen but healing, took to Instagram over the weekend, posting a photo of the injury.
"I wanna thank the guy who randomly decided he needed to hit me last night," Licato wrote alongside the photo.
" 'This happened bc you look exactly like Shia LaBeouf.' Well sir you boosted my self esteem bc he's p hot."