The MTA is ramping up its efforts to catch a serial vandal responsible for smashing hundreds of windows on the 7 train by offering a $10,000 reward leading to an arrest and indictment.
Four more windows were smashed Sunday night, and authorities thought they had a primary suspect behind the vandalism.
Police released a photo of the man they say broke a subway window earlier this month. The primary suspect was identified by witnesses, police said. The incident is one of more than 70 reported cases of vandalism in the transit system since May, with more than 400 total windows smashed — 25 since Friday evening. Most of the smashed windows on the 7 train were in Manhattan, with the remainder on the 2, 3 and A lines.
"I am announcing today a reward of $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the sociopath who's responsible for the damage of the 7 train," said MTA Chairman Pat Foye.
Just hours after the reward was announced, however, another 7 train was vandalized after an MTA worker noticed the damage around 5:30 p.m. The train was taken out of service, as officials were still baffled that they hadn't been able to root out all the causes of the vandalism.
The NYPD and MTA leadership held a joint press conference saying they're eager to catch those responsible. It's not clear if they believe this man is behind all of the cases.
The MTA says there's been more than $300,000 worth of damage and hundreds of smashed windows. On top of that, delays for riders as crews are forced to remove train cars to complete repairs.
"This is your money. This is your time on these trains and the inconvenience is caused to you," said Pat Warren, MTA's chief safety officer.
The transit agency usually has a supply of windows — made of a specialized ballistic safety glass used to prevent shattering — to use as replacements, however that stockpile has run out amid the spree of vandalism.
Investigators are relying on transit cameras, cell phone video and most importantly, they say, witnesses to come forward. Crime Stoppers is also offering an additional $2,500 reward, bringing the total reward to $12,500.