Sex offender arrested for allegedly groping NYPD traffic agent, arrested 168 previous times

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Police have arrested the man suspected of groping an off-duty NYPD traffic agent in a Brooklyn subway station.

Gian Verdelli, a 67-year-old registered sex offender with nearly 200 prior arrests, was arrested at 5:30 a.m. Friday on Wards Island, at a shelter where homeless frequently spend the night.

He is accused of groping the victim as she got onto a Manhattan-bound L train, allegedly putting his hand under her dress at the Bedford Avenue station Wednesday morning.

The 37-year-old traffic agent confronted him on the train, and he reportedly told her, "It's crowded."

When they got off the train at the First Avenue station in Manhattan, she took his picture. She also tried to follow him, but lost him in the crowd.

Verdelli was quickly identified as a registered sex offender from Brooklyn who has more than 50 arrests in New York City and hundreds of arrests on his record.

When he was arrested for groping a woman aboard a PATH train on two occasions in Jersey City in 2012, Port Authority police said he had 168 prior arrests dating back to the 1970s.

The majority of his prior arrests are for minor offenses, often involving transit systems, trespassing or drug possession. Most were misdemeanors in New York state or disorderly person's offenses in New Jersey, which typically carry little, if any, jail time -- even for repeat offenders.

In the case involving the traffic agent, he is charged with persistent sexual abuse, forcible touching and sexual abuse.

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