Felonies up 6 percent in NY commuter train system

October 18, 2011 10:54:46 AM PDT
Felonies rose on New York's commuter rail system by 6 percent so far this year over 2010 with thefts of electronic gadgets accounting for most of the rising crime, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said in its latest monthly report.

The agency said 79 larcenies occurred from January to August, up from 65 in the same period.

Robberies fell from 11 to six, felony assaults dropped from seven to six and burglaries declined from six to two. No murders or rapes were reported.

Murders on trains "might make for a good Agatha Christie novel," but they are nonexistent on MetroNorth Railroad, spokeswoman Marjorie Anders said. MetroNorth links Connecticut, New Jersey and New York's Hudson Valley to New York City.

Instead, she said, many commuters are ripped off because they are "not keeping their eyes on their property" and might leave an item behind. Others might then find them and not turn them in.

Electronic gadgets such as cell phones, laptops and electronic tablets accounted for many of the thefts.

That's what happened to Luke Schnirring, a magazine and newsletter publisher who has commuted from East Norwalk to Grand Central Terminal every day for eight years.

He said he lost an iPhone on a train a few years ago and rushed back to retrieve it while the train was still on the platform. The phone was gone and never showed up at MetroNorth's lost and found, he said.

Schnirring, a member of the Connecticut Metro-North Commuter Council, blames himself but said he "certainly was upset to have lost it and disappointed it was not returned to the lost and found."

Schnirring said he has been to the lost and found "more times than I want to admit."

"Most of the time, you don't get it back," he said. "Like many other things with MetroNorth, it's very frustrating."

The lost and found has a good recovery rate, Anders said, adding that crime statistics also include shoplifting at Grand Central Terminal stores operated by the MTA.

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