NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police are hoping surveillance video helps catch a suspect wanted for tossing dangerous objects onto subway tracks.
Investigators told CBS2’s Nina Kapur on Wednesday that he’s placed everything from a fire extinguisher to a shovel on the rails, creating potentially dangerous situations.
The suspect is believed to 20 to 30 years old.
He was caught on camera at several different Brooklyn subway stations, wearing disguises and even hopping turnstiles.
Police said he’s responsible for putting hazardous materials on the train tracks.
“This is a deadly serious matter. 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,” Transit Authority President Andy Byford said in a statement. “We’re working closely with NYPD on their investigation and are determined to help catch whoever is responsible.”
The first incident dates to May 9. He was seen at the the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center station, where police said he threw debris on the rails of the D train just after midnight.
Then on June 5 at the Union Street station, the suspect put a fire extinguisher, lights, a bag of concrete mix and a piece of metal on the rails of the R train. Upon impact, the extinguisher exploded. Fortunately, no one was injured and no damage was done, Kapur reported.
Just 40 minutes later at the 45th Street station, he put a shovel on the tracks of the R train, police said.
“That’s crazy. That’s really dangerous for the trains,” Brooklyn resident Laurel Magin said. “That’s scary. It could cause a train to crash with the shovels and lose a wheel or something.”
“Now I’m going to be on high alert for it. Why would you even have a shovel in the subway?” added Jennifer Themelis of Brooklyn.
“Makes me feel unsafe. I’ve got to check the tracks every five seconds,” said Michael Martin of Queens. “I shouldn’t have to feel that way. I should feel safe riding on public transportation.”
On Sunday, he put Christmas lights on the rails of the N train, police said.
“I’m sure this person will be found,” said Daniel Dzula of Brooklyn. “There’s plenty of officers, plenty of cameras. I’m sure they’ll be held accountable for it.”
None of the incidents led to any damage or injuries, so far.
Byford says the MTA does not take these acts lightly.
“I am angry. At the end of the day, they’re putting my customers and my employees at risk. And we’ll leave no stone unturned. I’m finding who this idiot is and bring them to justice,” Byford said.
It isn’t the first time the MTA has had to deal with people disrupting subway services. A few weeks ago, someone was pulling the emergnecy brakes and running along the tracks, train surfing.
“There’s never an excuse for conducting acts of vandalism on the subway and putting things on the tracks is derailing the train. It’s completely unacceptable and we need to bring that person to justice and we need to do that straight away,” Byford said at the time.
The suspect who has been leaving the dangerous items on the tracks will be charged with reckless endangerment, police said.
Anyone with any information about the crime spree is asked to call NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or 1-888-57-PISTA (74782) for Spanish. You can also submit a tip via the Crime Stoppers website, by Tweeting @NYPDTips or by texting a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577.