Someone keeps pulling emergency brakes on the New York subways — now NYPD is getting involved

This image shows an emergency brake on a New York subway car.

NEW YORK — Police arrested a Brooklyn man they say pulled the emergency brake in a subway car, but there are still some 30 other incidents they’re investigating.

Subway delays are just part of daily life in New York — they just happen. What isn’t part of daily life is someone senselessly pulling the emergency brake on the subway.

Since February, the state-run Mass Transit Authority — it operates the New York City subways — has tracked approximately 30 incidents.

The agency’s president called it dangerous and stupid.

“It’s selfish,” MTA President Andy Byford said May 22. “And it’s got to stop.”

The incidents follow a pattern

In investigating incidents, police began to notice a pattern in how some of the brakes were being pulled.

Someone would “train surf” — ride outside the train — and break into the rear cab of the subway train. Then they’d pull the emergency brake.

New Yorkers’ commutes then are ruined when the subway train screeches to a halt and crews work to figure out what happened.

The incidents caused an infuriating number of trains to be delayed or canceled — approximately 700.

NYPD makes an arrest

The weekday rush hour on Tuesday, May 21, was like any other at the 14th Street 1/2/3 line subway station.

Except at 5:43 p.m. a man walked in the last car of a 2 train, opened the door to the operator cab and stood outside the train on the back stoop. After several stops, the man then pulled the emergency brake, police say.

Police say they arrested that man, 23-year-old Isaiah Thompson of Brooklyn, on Friday. Thompson has since been charged with reckless endangerment and criminal trespassing.

They say he also is responsible for a May 16 incident at another station where he not only pulled the emergency brake, but exposed himself to passengers on the platform as the train pulled away.

Thompson has been charged before for incidents on the MTA system, police said. NYPD Det. Ahmed Nasser told CNN that Thompson has 17 prior arrests and that, based on court filings, some charges involve trespassing on MTA property.

Those cases are still being adjudicated.

CNN called and left a voicemail for Thompson’s attorney in those cases for comment on the arrest but has not yet received a response.

“Let this be a reminder that anyone who intentionally disrupts the subway, endangering our employees and customers, will be sought by the police and caught,” Byford said after the arrest. “If this person is indeed found to be responsible for breaking into trains and pulling emergency brakes dozens of times, he should face a lengthy prison term and the strictest possible penalties.”

A police source told CNN that they are still looking into the other incidents.

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