Crime and Courts

Chief investigative reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.
Crime and Courts

Man Arrested 119 Times Back on Streets of New York City

According to a criminal complaint, Charles Barry presented himself as an MTA employee in an effort to dupe a tourist, whom he sold a dud MetroCard for $ 32 — just one of his many alleged scam victims

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The man NYPD officials say has been arrested at least 119 times is back on the streets after allegedly scamming yet another victim in the New York City subways.

According to a criminal complaint, Charles Barry presented himself as an MTA employee — complete with a dark-colored uniform — in an effort to dupe a tourist. He told the woman the MetroCard machine was not working, and sold her one for $32, even though the card was a dud.

Soon after, the victim was able to identify Barry thanks to a picture a transit worker shower her. But even after being caught by officials, the serial subway scammer walked out of a Manhattan courthouse on Wednesday, released without bail under the recent changes to the law.

Barry even bragged to reporters about the bail reform law that allowed for his release, calling it "lit." Police say the scam artist has been arrested six times since the bail reform overhaul went into effect in January, but every time is let free because all his alleged offenses are not violent — something the police unions have been highly critical of.

Skipping court dates has also been a habit of Barry's, who has two appearances upcoming. Just a few weeks before his latest stunt, police said a 73-year-old victim was trying to refill her reduces fare senior car when she "observed the defendant approach her, grab the cash and the MetroCard, and pull it from her hand before fleeing," according to law enforcement.

At Wednesday's arraignment hearing, it was revealed Barry said during his arrest on a grand larceny charge that "I don't snatch money — I don't do grand larceny." He was released on a high level of supervision.

In a statement, the Legal Aid Society, which is representing Barry, called it “blatant profiling consistent with the NYPD’s crusade to criminalize Mr. Barry, and we are prepared to fight these charges in court.”

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