Hell on the el as thieves prey on J-train riders

The Brooklyn Paper
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Straphangers riding the elevated J/M train have one more thing to worry about as they come home for the night — robbers.

Williamsburg’s subway stations and train lines are the scene of a recent crime wave, which experienced four violent robberies over the past week alone, when thugs beat up a man who refused to surrender an iPod, punched a woman in the face and demanded cash, and threatened to throw a victim into a moving train if she didn’t give up her wallet.

On Aug. 14 at 9:30 am, a thug grabbed his victim’s arm on the Hewes Street station platform and threatened to throw her onto the J-train subway tracks if she didn’t hand over her iPod. The perp, who witnesses describe was about 6-foot-2 and 250 pounds and wearing a beard, shouted, “Do what I say or I’ll throw you on the f—ing tracks,” before rifling the victim’s pockets and grabbing $8.

Three hours earlier at the same station, another thug approached his victim as he was getting off the train, offering to sell him some property, but punched him in the face instead. The crook, whom witnesses described as 6-foot-4 and 280 pounds and wearing cornrows, took the man’s ring, wallet and phone, and ran down Broadway.

Then, early on Aug. 12, four thugs confronted a man sitting on the L train before the Montrose Avenue station stop and demanded his iPod. One offered the chilling comment, “We just beat the crap out of someone else and if you don’t give us your phone you are next.”

The victim refused, but it didn’t matter. The men punched him in the face repeatedly until Grand Avenue, when they left the train.

Twelve hours later, a different thug, described as 5-foot-6 tall and 120 pounds, punched his victim in the face and said, “Give me your money” as she was walking up the stairway to the J-train at the Lorimer Street station at 2 pm. The victim handed over $125.

Police could not say why criminals were robbing victims on subways, only that subway robberies can sometimes occur in cycles and there is a shortage of transit cops patrolling stations.

Not everyone who was the victim of a crime on the subways was robbed in a confrontation.

On Aug. 10, one woman fell asleep in the Morgan Avenue station for 10 minutes with her purse in her lap. When an L train motored by, waking her at 2:30 am, she got on board, but quickly noticed that some thief stole her wallet and her iPhone.

She can probably consider herself lucky — if a bit poorer.

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Reader Feedback

john from lower east side says:
this is the reason why i stay off the subway. much safer to ride the express bus home! its cost a lot more, but a lot more safe.
Aug. 18, 2010, 3:57 pm
gimme from here and there says:
have to rename the J train the Beatdown train yo

iPods: the ripe fruits to be plucked from yupsters by those who got none son
Aug. 19, 2010, 4:57 pm
"Harmless" hipster from Bushwick says:
This is why I carry 'defense' on me at all times. I want them to pick me. They'll lose an eye or their throat.
Aug. 23, 2010, 11:21 am

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