HOWARD BEACH — Thieves crippled service on the A and C train when they stole 500 feet of copper cable from subway tracks near Howard Beach, the MTA said.
The cable was taken from roughly 12 locations along tracks and some signal equipment and track components were damaged.
The theft caused power failures and created chaos for thousands of commuters Wednesday morning, the agency said.
It "led to delays and crowding along all 31 miles of the A train, and forced thousands of Rockaways customers to use shuttle buses to get to work,” MTA New York City Transit President Carmen Bianco said in a statement.
“We are working closely with the NYPD Transit Bureau to help them investigate this crime and identify the culprits responsible."
The MTA said the power cable was presumably stolen to be sold as scrap.
A train service — which was suspended in both directions between Rockaway Boulevard and Broad Channel during morning rush hours — was being restored later in the morning but commuters should expect residual delays throughout the day, the MTA said.
Shuttle buses will continue to run until service fully resumes through the Rockaways.
A train service will be suspended and replaced by shuttle buses on Wednesday around 10 p.m. so the agency can conduct emergency repair work overnight, an MTA spokesman said. A train service will be back to normal by Thursday morning, the spokesman said.
The cable theft also disrupted service along the entire C line as it prevented some trains from turning around or from getting out of the storage space in Rockaway Park yard, the MTA said.
Additionally, some A trains also had to terminate at Euclid Av, where the C usually terminates, forcing a reduction in C service, officials said.
Straphangers should expect residual delays on the C line too, the MTA said.
The cable theft was discovered at 11:22 p.m. Tuesday night when a northbound A train lost power north of the Howard Beach station.
MTA crews brought in another train behind the stalled train, and the estimated 150 commuters on board were able to walk through the trains to get back to the Howard Beach station at 12:09 a.m, the MTA said.
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