Robbery Suspect Runs Down Subway Tunnel, Sparks Extensive Delays: Officials

A train operator who heard what sounded like something hitting the train found the suspect on the ground

A robbery suspect sparked massive transit delays between Queens and Manhattan Tuesday morning after authorities say he ran into a subway tube, then was clipped by a train.

Subway service was suspended between the boroughs on the E, F, M and R lines for nearly an hour after the robbery suspect allegedly tried to steal a 13-year-old's phone before running down a subway tube at the Northern Boulevard station in Woodside at about 7:30 a.m., according to authorities and MTA officials. 

The alleged thief snatched the teen's cellphone while the pair were aboard a Manhattan-bound M train, then punched a good Samaritan who tried to intervene, authorities said.

Once the train arrived at Northern Boulevard, authorities say that the suspect bolted down a catwalk leading into a subway tunnel toward 65th Street.

The MTA says that after the suspect disappeared, M and R trains were re-routed over the express tracks, and train operators were told to travel with caution.

A few minutes later, the MTA says the operator of a Queens-bound F train heard what sounded like something hitting the side of a car near the 65th Street station. He stopped the train and got out to check the tracks. 

While walking along the track-bed, the operator found the robbery suspect on the ground next to the express tracks. He had minor injuries and appeared to have been sideswiped by the train. 

The MTA says they then cut power to the lines so police and paramedics could respond and take the man in custody. 

The suspect was taken to Elmhurst Hospital after the robbery and escape attempt. He's expected to be charged with assault, possession of stolen property and criminal trespassing. 

The good Samaritan who was punched sustained a bloody nose.

The suspension was lifted at about 9 a.m., but extensive delays along the four lines stretched late into the morning rush, affecting thousands of commuters.

Candy Bigwood posted a photo to Instagram showing throngs of people crowded at a bus station.

"What happens when all Manhattan bound trains get shutdown," she wrote. 

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