Police have arrested the man they believe "intentionally disrupted thousands of commutes" by pulling the subway emergency brake on hundreds of trains over the past few months—and police say he also exposed himself to passengers as well.
Brooklyn resident Isaiah Thompson, 23, was arrested last night and charged with reckless endangerment and criminal trespass for allegedly pulling a subway brake on a northbound 2 train near 14th Street in Manhattan on Tuesday. A police source tells the Post Thompson may have pulled the emergency brake on upwards of 40 trains, resulting in delays on over 700 trains.
Here's his M.O., according to Jalopnik's MTA source: "The suspect disrupts service primarily on the 2 and 5 lines from Flatbush Avenue in central Brooklyn to midtown Manhattan. He climbs aboard the rear of the train as it departs a station, unlocks the safety chains, somehow gets into the rear cab, and triggers the emergency brakes. Then, he disappears, most likely through the subway tunnels and out an emergency exit. Despite striking on average once a week for several months, the person has not been caught."
In addition, Thompson was also charged for an incident on May 16th, in which he allegedly stood outside the rear of a northbound B train as it was in motion near the 8th Avenue/West 14th Street station, and exposed himself to passengers on the platform. He was charged with reckless endangerment, public lewdness, and criminal trespass.
Before last night's arrest, an MTA motorman described a run-in with the suspect earlier in May with the Post: "I was in between stations and I was operating the train, going at a good speed, all of a sudden the train just completely stops," the anonymous driver said. The Post writes that he and the train's conductor eventually realized someone had "unlatched a security chain and climbed into the empty, rear operator’s cab to yank the brake lever there." Officials believe Thompson must have been using a special MTA-issued master key to gain access to the operator cabs, which are otherwise locked.
"It’s not gonna be fun when he gets caught — and eventually he’s gonna get caught," the driver added. "For him, the fun and games are going to stop soon, and I can’t wait to see it when he gets caught."
We the Commuters is a weekly newsletter about transportation from WNYC and Gothamist. Sign up below for essential commuting coverage delivered to your inbox every Thursday.