Brooklyn Boro

Serial saboteur screws with Brooklyn’s subway tracks

June 13, 2019 Meaghan McGoldrick

What do a fire extinguisher, a shovel and a string of holiday lights have in common? They’ve all been used as ammo by a hooded culprit who has been meticulously placing items along Brooklyn subway tracks to wreak havoc since May, according to police.

On Sunday at around 2:30 a.m., the suspect strung a set of holiday lights to the northbound rails of the N line at the Ninth Street subway station.

At around 2 a.m. on June 5, the suspect placed a fire extinguisher, a bank of lights, a bag of concrete mix and a metal shim on the southbound rails of the R line at Union Street. Authorities say a train eventually ran over the fire extinguisher, causing mono ammonium phosphate – a chemical that, if inhaled in large enough quantities, can cause difficulty breathing – to expel into the station.

Forty minutes later, inside the 45th Street station, the perp placed a shovel on the southbound rails of the same line, resulting in what cops called “a hazardous condition.”

His first assumed strike dates back to 12:30 a.m. on May 9, when authorities allege he placed “debris” on the northbound rails of the Atlantic-Avenue Barclay Center’s D line, causing another “hazardous condition.”

There were no injuries or property damage reported in any of the incidents. Riders — and transit officials — hope it doesn’t reach that point.

“It’s alarming to know there is a man out there intentionally looking to harm others around him, especially in a place like a train station,” said one Brooklyn resident who uses the Union Street station twice a day to get to and from work. “I hope they can figure out who is behind this so I don’t have to think about it every time I get on and off the train.”

NYC Transit President Andy Byford called the string of incidents “a deadly serious matter.”

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“Anyone who deliberately and recklessly sabotages the city’s main mode of public transportation like this is a menace to New Yorkers and should be caught and prosecuted on the strictest possible terms,” he said. “We’re working closely with NYPD on their investigation and are determined to help catch whoever is responsible.”

Originally, the suspect was said to be an Asian man, anywhere from 16 to 21 years old. Now, cops think he’s 20 to 30. He was last seen wearing a hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses.

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website, on Twitter @NYPDTips or by texting their tips to 274637 (enter TIP577).

All calls are strictly confidential.

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