47° Good Evening
47° Good Evening

Sleeping subway riders still a target for thieves

Criminals target easy targets on trains.

Criminals target easy targets on trains. Photo Credit: Flickr/gtasandman

Subway criminals are still lurking through trains to catch easy marks who have dozed off.

More than a fifth -- 21% -- of crime in the transit system this year was committed against sleeping riders, according to Deputy Chief Vincent Coogan of the NYPD transit bureau.

"There has been an uptick in the number of grand larcenies that are attributed to victims who are targeted while they were sleeping," Coogan said at an MTA board meeting Monday.

There were 1,601 major felony crimes in the transit system this year through September, according to MTA board documents, and 331 of them targeted slumbering passengers. That is an increase from the 16.8%, or 308, sleeping victims among the 1,888 crimes committed in the same period of 2013.

These nighttime crimes of opportunity are mostly grand larcenies, though there were 13 additional crimes classified as robberies, according to the NYPD. They occur in late evening and early morning hours and are reported around stations at the end of a line, Coogan said.

One recent bust of a serial grand larcenist on parole occurred at Times Square at 7:30 a.m. Oct. 18, according to Coogan. Lt. Kevin Callaghan had spotted Miller on video surveillance and sent a team of officers who saw the seasoned thief allegedly try to swipe a cellphone from a sleeping passenger on an N, Q, R platform, according to Coogan. After the arrest, Miller was allegedly in possession of two cellphones, one of which was also stolen from a snoozing subway rider at Union Square, Coogan said.

News photos & videos