Queens man cuffed for vandalizing A train at Columbus Circle may be tied to window smashings

A new glass panel being installed on a 7 train at Corona Maintenance Facility after vandalism on Wed., Aug. 5, 2020. (Photo courtesy of MTA New York City Transit)

Police sources are investigating whether a Queens man cuffed at the Columbus Circle A train station on Friday night for kicking and damaging windows is the window whacker responsible for smashing more than 300 windows out of subway cars in recent months, police sources said.

Joseph Martinez, 42, of 118th Street in Richmond Hill was taken into custody at the 59th Street-Columbus Circle A train station at 8:15 p.m. on Aug. 28. 

Moments earlier, law enforcement sources said, Martinez had been spotted kicking out windows while riding a Uptown-bound A train. The Midtown North Precinct and NYPD Transit Bureau was alerted, officers at Columbus Circle observed the suspect kicking three windows multiple times, authorities said.

Martinez was taken into custody without further incident on charges of criminal mischief, and questioned further about the series of 63 subway window smashing incidents on the 2, 3 and 7 lines in recent weeks.

The smashing spree began on May 3 and continued up until at least Aug. 3, police reported. The MTA reported that the vandalism resulted in about $300,000 in damage. It also depleted the authority’s stockpile of replacement windows.

The MTA offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the vandal’s arrest.

Additional charges against Martinez are pending the results of the ongoing investigation.