MTA, NYPD probe intentional brake pulls that caused subway delays and chaos

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A man on a northbound No. 2 train gained access to the rear train car, opened the rear door and then surfed the back of the train for several stops after he had pulled the emergency brake, said police. (NYPD)

MTA New York City Transit officials believe that people have been intentionally pulling the emergency brake on several subway trains in recent days. Transit officials have turned over information and security video to the NYPD, which is investigating.

On Tuesday in the middle of the evening rush, a young man inside the West 14th Street and 7th Avenue subway station got on a northbound No. 2 train, gained access to the rear train car, opened the rear door and then surfed the back of the train for several stops after pulling the emergency brake.

The suspect is described as between 20 and 30, with brown eyes and black hair, approximately 5 feet 9 inches tall, and weighing 160 pounds.

“It’s stupid, it’s dangerous and it’s selfish and we intend to nail them,” said Andy Byford, the NYCTA president.

Who is doing this (or why in the world someone would) is lost on Byford. He believes since January at least one person has been pulling subway emergency brakes, which are locked in the back of trains, then sometimes riding the outside of subway, before jumping onto the tracks and running to another train.

“I would love to be able to catch these people, I would like them to face the consequences of their actions, and I’d like to ban them from the subway,” Byford said.

"Just in terms of the pulling of the emergency brakes, we are going to be investigating as reckless endangerment," Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said at a news conference on Wednesday. "We'll go from there as far as how long this has been going on."

Shea added that he doesn't believe this is common but it is serious.

"It poses a danger and a risk to people any time that you're disrupting so we'll investigate it accordingly," he said. "We'll go from there to determine what the motive is."

While emergency brakes are visible in subway cars where passengers can access them, the suspicious cases only involve emergency brakes inside the rear cab, which is supposed to be locked with a key.

Officials say initially they were reluctant to publicize the problem because of the potential for copy cats.

Roughly five months since the problem started, the NYPD is asking the public’s for help.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).

 The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM, on Twitter @NYPDTips or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

You can remain anonymous.