Braking: Police arrest Clinton Hill subway saboteur

Busted: Police arrested Clinton Hill resident Isaiah Thompson on May 24 for pulling the emergency brakes on two subway trains in Manhattan on May 16 and 21.
NYPD

He’s off the rails!

Police arrested a Clinton Hill man who they believe pulled the emergency brakes on at least two subway trains over the last two weeks, in the early hours of May 24.

Cops nabbed 23-year-old Isaiah Thompson at his Gates Avenue home between Downing Street and Grand Avenue at 12:25 a.m. for allegedly pulling the emergency breaks in Manhattan on a northbound B-train May 16 and a northbound 2 train on May 21, according to the authorities.

During his earlier strike, the suspect allegedly exposed himself to passengers on the platform while surfing outside the back of the train, police said.

Cops charged him with public lewdness for that incident, along with reckless endangerment and criminal trespass for both alleged transit sabotages.

The police got a hold of Thompson after a tip but it is unknown whether he is responsible for any more similar incidents across the transit network, according to a spokesman.

“Unknown at this time how many incidents he may be responsible for,” the spokesman said.

The two commute disruptions are part of a larger pattern where one or more scoundrels have for years been pulling emergency breaks on trains, disrupting the commute of thousands, transit honchos said at a recent meeting.

“There does seem to be a pattern emerging and it has happened before,” New York City Transit president Andy Byford said at the Metropolitan Transportation Agency’s board meeting on May 22.

The malefactors gain access to the rear cab of subways with a key and they operate the emergency break before making a run for it on the tracks and sometimes they continue to do their evil deeds on another train, according to Byford, who condemned the acts and said the agency would find the perpetrators.

“It’s stupid, it’s dangerous, and it’s selfish, and we attempt to nail them,” the transit leader said.

The majority of these incidents have occurred on the 2 and 5 lines, according to Byford, but he and MTA Chair Pat Foye were wary of going into more detail in order to avoid encouraging copycats.

“We were reluctant to discuss this issue publicly given the potential for copycats,” Foye said.

The suspect primarily targets the trains between the Flatbush Avenue terminus in Flatbush and Manhattan, the site Jalopnik reports.

Transit bigwigs said both agencies were working closely with the city’s Police Department and asking for the public’s help in catching the perpetrators, which they estimate has disrupted thousands of commutes and put the lives of transit workers at risk.

“We want to enlist the public’s help, our customers’ help, in catching these potential criminals who are impacting the lives of thousands of our customers and endangering the lives of New York City Transit men and women who are working on the subways, and ask them to report any suspicious activities they see,” Foye said.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kduggan@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.

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