A South Yarra man managed to scare off a suspected thief – who later returned to stab him multiple times in the chest. The man, 38, had spotted the stranger loitering in a car park near his apartment in Melbourne on Saturday night, police said.  He decided to approach the man, having recently had something stolen from his car, but the man fled when he drew near.

Thirty minutes later, the man was standing outside his home on Osborne Street, near Chapel Street, when he saw the same man walking towards him carrying a knife.

“The man lashed out and stabbed the victim multiple times,” a police spokeswoman said.

The stranger fled again – north on Osborne Street, across a footbridge over the rail lines – before trying to clean himself at a laundry on Arthur Street.

The injured man was taken to The Alfred hospital with injuries to his upper body in a serious but stable condition, Ambulance Victoria spokesman John Mullen said.

He remains listed in a critical but stable condition, a hospital spokesman said.

The knife-wielding man remains on the run.

Anyone who has information about the attack, which occurred about 6.45pm, is asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.