Window-smashing spree on the subway causing MTA headaches

QUEENS, New York (WABC) -- A continued vandalism spree involving broken windows on subway cars could soon force the MTA to cut back on service.

Sources told Eyewitness News two more 7 trains were hit late Friday night.

They say one train was Manhattan bound and one was Queens bound.

On Wednesday night, 39 windows were smashed on a 7 train at the Vernon Boulevard and Jackson Avenue station in Queens.

This becomes yet another incident added to a three-month subway vandalism spree that has resulted in dozens of damaged cars.

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Police are looking for a man wanted in connection to a three-month subway vandalism spree.


The MTA says more than 400 subway windows have been broken since May, costing the MTA more than $300,000. The vast majority are on the number 7 line.

MTA had a reserve of glass when the wave of vandalism started, but officials now say the agency has nearly depleted its reserve of replacement windows.

Authorities said there have been 31 separate instances of broken windows on the 7 train since May 14, likely by the same person.

If the spree continues, the MTA says they may be forced to pull trains and limit service, which would result in more time between trains translating to longer waits on subway platforms and more crowded subway trains -- two things the MTA is actively trying to avoid during the pandemic.

No service has been impacted yet, but there is a potential that could change if vandalism continues at the current pace.

MTA Chief Safety Officer Pat Warren says one or more people are using weapons to smash out the windows on subway cars from inside the trains.

"This takes considerable force," Warren said. "This has to be done with a blunt instrument of some kind, a hammer, a pipe, a baseball bat, something significant."

The MTA does not know why there has suddenly been "a considerable" uptick in vandalism.

The windows are specially designed, and different windows fit different model train cars. There simply aren't enough subway train windows in the supply line to repair them at the rate they are currently being broken.
"It's special glass, it's a break-resistant glass, safety glass, that has been approved by the federal government. It has to be specially made and brought in," Warren said.
Most of the vandalism seems to happen when passengers are not on the trains, resulting in a frustrating lack of eyewitness accounts.

They are still trying to nail down exactly when and where the vandalism is occurring, and the NYPD says they are still looking for that suspect who is wanted for 63 different incidents of subway vandalism.

Most of the vandalism seems to happen when passengers are not on the trains, resulting in a frustrating lack of eyewitness accounts.

They are still trying to nail down exactly when and where the vandalism is occurring, and the NYPD says they are still looking for that suspect who is wanted for 63 different incidents of subway vandalism.

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Not only could there be service issues, but MTA officials say pulling trains out could mean overcrowding problems.

They don't deserve it. In this time, when money matters, when their time matters and when crowding because of the virus matters, we can ill afford that, they can ill afford that, so that's why we really want to get to the bottom of this," Warren said.

Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM, or on Twitter @NYPDTips.

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