What to Know
- There have been at least nine cases of pickpocketing that follow a similar MO
- A man has been arrested in one case, but police believe a woman in her thirties may be connected to some of the others
- Police are warning 7 train riders to be extra watchful of their bags and wallets
Wallets and phones are being stolen right out of women’s bags on the 7 line by a woman police believe has struck multiple times in the past couple of months.
Victims of the pickpocket told police they’ve been bumped into while riding a 7 train, only to find their possessions missing upon leaving the train.
Women were pickpocketed across the 7 train line, from busy Queensboro Plaza and Roosevelt Avenue/74th Street to 61st Street–Woodside and Junction Boulevard. Many of the women were on moving trains when they were bumped by an assailant who quickly disappeared into the crowd.
Reported incidents stretch back to early February, with the most recent on March 16, police said.
A 36-year-old man was arrested in one of the incidents, but police believe he’s not connected to the others.
Police are eyeing a 30-something-year-old woman seen in surveillance photos released by the NYPD. She has only been connected to one pickpocketing, authorities said, but the MO is almost exactly the same in each case.
Authorities say the woman attempted to purchase a television using one of the victim’s credit cards, but the card was declined. She also tried to open a bank account in the victim’s name, but was unsuccessful.
Straphanger Maryanne Veshecco says she relies on the subway to get around, but she always keeps a watchful eye.
"We all suffer the indignities of riding the subway every day and to have this happening on top of everything else is really bad,” Veshecco said.
NYPD Lt. Michael Goldreyer has spent years keeping New Yorkers safe on the subway. He says women should keep their arm over their bags and men should keep their wallet in their front pocket. He also suggests grabbing an NYPD gear guard at transit facilities. The device attaches to zippers and keeps people from gaining access on the fly. He also warns against multitasking while in the subway.
“What I mean by this is when they’re walking through a turnstile, they’ll be on their cell phone while using a MetroCard,” Goldreyer said.
Straphangers know the dangers, but Rosemary Musandipa says no matter how hard you try, sometimes you let your guard down.
“You do the best you can and try to hold onto your purse,” Musandipa said. “And hope that in a public place someone sees something and they say something.”