Subway Brake Puller Tied to at Least 40 Incidents: NYPD
A young Yankees fan with a T-shirt that says “Swag Don’t Come Cheap” is suspected of pulling the brakes on a train at rush hour Tuesday, the latest in a rash of incidents that has disrupted thousands of commuters.
The NYPD said early Thursday it is looking for a black man, ages 20 to 30, with brown eyes and black hair, roughly 5’9″ and weighing 160 pounds. Surveillance video shows him in a Yankees cap and the boastful Nike shirt.
Police believe the suspect could potentially be tied to at least 40 brake-related incidents on trains since March. They are also pursuing the possibility that some of the incidents could be the suspect’s accomplices, or even copycats.
The NYPD got the photo and video of the suspect from Tuesday’s incident, which started at the West 14th Street station just before 5:45 p.m. The suspect allegedly opened the rear door of the last car, “surfed” the train for several stops and then pulled the brake.
It was not immediately clear if the suspect in Tuesday’s episode is linked to the rash of similar escapades this year.
The MTA acknowledged Wednesday that someone has been making a habit of pulling the emergency brakes on subways at the worst possible time: the height of rush hour.
Thousands of riders have already been delayed by the culprit or culprits, who sneak off sometime after bringing trains to a halt, surfing on the back of the cars and getting away via tunnels.
The MTA says whoever is intentionally ruining riders commutes may have been at it for a while now. Complaints from riders on Twitter about a pulled emergency brake go back months.
“It’s stupid. It’s stupid and selfish, and we intend to nail them,” said New York City Transit President Andy Byford.
The emergency brakes being activated are not the ones that all commuters have access to. The wrongdoer is breaking into the operator’s car with keys and pulling that brake, the MTA said. The transit authority has not shared how they believe the offender may have gotten the keys.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea says they will investigate as reckless endangerment. “This poses a danger and a risk to people,” Shea said.
The MTA kept initial reports of the brake-pulling scheme quiet so as to avoid copycats, but are now seeking the public’s help to bring the disruptive act to a halt.
The investigation is ongoing.
Photo Credit: NYPD
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