Thieves torch B'klyn subway booth, agent inside escaped unharmed
A brave subway station agent refused to let two would-be robbers into her Brooklyn booth Wednesday morning, even as they set it ablaze with her trapped inside, transit officials and police said.
The clerk quickly grabbed a fire extinguisher and put out the blaze by spraying through a small money tray before calling police. She was shaken up but not injured.
The terrifying attack, reminiscent of booth torchings in the 1980s and 1990s, began when two men walked up to the enclosure at the Prospect Park Q station just after 5 a.m., pounding on the window and demanding the unidentified 39-year-old clerk let them in.
“Either you open the door and let us in or we’re burning you out,” they told her, according to union official Joe Bermudez.
After failing to break in, the two men poured a flammable liquid on the booth’s glass window and lit it on fire. Then the thugs, described as being in their late teens or early 20s, fled.
The clerk, an agency employee since 1994, was taken to New York Methodist Hospital for observation and to treat trauma, where her two children were relieved to find she was physically fine, the union official said.
“I know for a fact that she’s afraid to go back,” Bermudez said, “especially if they’re not caught.”
Transit officials likened the attempted robbery to similar subway booth fires years ago, including a 1995 attack that killed a subway token booth clerk. A similar incident had just been depicted in the movie “Money Train.”