NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD is stepping up patrols as police search for the person — or people — responsible for pulling emergency brakes on subway trains.
Surveillance video shows one man surfing a northbound 2 train at the 14th Street and Seventh Avenue subway station on Tuesday. Police said he rode for several stops before pulling the emergency brakes.
“This is stupid. It’s dangerous. It’s selfish and it’s got to stop,” Transit Authority President Andy Byford said Wednesday.
Byford said there has been an increase in incidents since January. Those responsible often get away by jumping on the tracks and onto another train.
“It’s very selfish for them to do this, because the repercussion for those of us who are delayed, especially if we have to get somewhere, is unfortunate,” one woman said
“I’d be pretty mad, pretty mad,” another woman added.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is warning of other consequences far worse than the delays caused by trains unexpectedly coming to a complete stop. The NYPD said starting Thursday, more officers would be deployed to subway stations as part of a broader plan. The increase will allow them to physically be on the trains and to hopefully catch a suspect in the act or at least make the person or group responsible think twice.
“This is life or death stuff involving really complicated, dangerous machinery that could endanger the lives of transit workers just doing their jobs and our customers,” said MTA Chairman Patrick Foye. “It’s serious.”
The emergency brakes can only be accessed with a key, raising the question of how the troublemakers are getting access to them.
“There’s no evidence that the doors have been forced, so we’re pretty certain these people have keys, and that’s extremely concerning,” Byford said.
So far, no one has been injured, but Bronx resident Jennell Sutton said she fears it’s only a matter of time.
“That’s ridiculous. It’s not going to be enough until somebody actually gets hurt, and then that’s when it will be a bigger story,” Sutton said.
Once caught, the suspects will be charged with reckless endangerment, but the MTA wants even stiffer penalties, hoping to ban those responsible from using the subway.
The NYPD’s increase in officers is part of a plan to target high-crime areas. The department wouldn’t provide details about deployment, but said the plan includes hundreds of extra officers that will also patrol neighborhoods.