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There's Something Nefarious Afoot in the NYC Subway System

Suspect believed to have caused delays, cancellations of nearly 750 trains since March
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2019 7:35 AM CDT
Commuters wait for the L train in New York, on Jan. 3, 2019.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

(Newser) – Someone has it out for the New York City subway system, having delayed or cancelled at least 747 trains since March. Jalopnik, which viewed 20 incident reports obtained from sources within the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, calls him a "supervillain." While he's been known to hit single trains, he allegedly has a tendency to hop on the back of a rush hour train heading uptown, pull the emergency brake at a major express stop, then race over the platform to do it all over again on a train heading the opposite way, halting service in both directions. Conductors who go to investigate typically find the back cab door unlocked—the suspect is believed to possess a key granted to operators and conductors—rear door open, and safety cables unattached.

"It's stupid. It's dangerous. It's selfish. And it's got to stop," subway chief Andy Byford says, per the New York Times. The suspect is thought to have stopped about 40 trains thus far, with each stoppage affecting numerous other trains. On Tuesday, for instance, the suspect hit three trains in 36 minutes, resulting in 118 trains on the 1, 2, and 3 lines being delayed or cancelled. At one point, the suspect came face to face with a conductor, smiled, and made an "obscene gesture" before slipping away, according to an incident report. Transit officials can't pursue a suspect without police present and Rail Control Center's approval. Later that day, the case was referred to the NYPD, which released a video of a man riding a train on Tuesday. He's described as black and between 20 and 30 years of age. (Read more subway stories.)

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