Sleeping 'L' subway riders targeted by same thief, police say

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Sleeping 'L' subway riders targeted by same thief, police say
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Tim Fleischer has the latest

CANARSIE, Brooklyn (WABC) -- Police are warning subway riders to stay awake while on the train after a series of robberies targeting sleeping passengers.

The suspect took wallets and cell phones from his victims after cutting their pockets open with a sharp object.

Surveillance video shows the suspect police believe is responsible for at least seven incidents where he steals valuables from subway riders who have fallen asleep on overnight or early morning L-line trains.

"Especially if it's someone sleeping," said Dawn Russell, subway rider. "You have hard working people coming home from work, so that's disturbing to hear about."

"That's New York. Everyone falls asleep," another subway rider said. "So you just kind of chance it every time you sleep."

Police reveal the suspect uses a sharp object or a knife to cut the pockets of sleepy riders stealing a variety of items including cell phones, bank cards and wallets.

Riders don't make the frightening discovery until they arrive at their station.

"As I go into the train, I look around and see who is there," said Pamela Tucker, subway rider. "And if that car looks funny, I go to another one."

The suspect is wanted for grand larceny in seven cases on the L-line.

The first incident was on February 18th. The last was on April 2nd.

The incidents occurred near the Sutter Avenue station, the Glenwood Road and Rockaway Parkway station, and the Farragut Road and East 105th Street station. Once the train stopped, the suspect fled.

"You never know, people could take," said Adlai Donaldson, subway rider. "Even if you are sleeping and you have something in your pocket they could slip it right out, so I try to stay up all the time."

Police are hoping someone recognizes the suspect so they can put an end to this string of costly robberies.

The individual is described as about 30 to 40 years old, with a dark complexion. He is between 5 feet 8 inches and 6 feet tall and was last seen wearing a light blue button-up shirt, black NY hat, blue jeans and black sneakers.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call 800-577-TIPS or for Spanish 1-888-57-PISTA (74782)