BUSHWICK — A stealthy subway bandit who's targeted sleeping L train passengers sliced holes in the pockets of seven straphangers, snatching wallets, cash, phones and credit cards, in a string of incidents that dates back to February, police said.
The thief has struck seven times since Feb. 18, all in the wee hours of the morning, preying on dozing riders on L trains headed to Canarsie, who later woke up to find holes in their pockets and missing valuables once they got off the train at stops in Bushwick, East New York and Canarise, police said.
One of the dozing passengers was inadvertently cut on the leg by the thief, who in all the incidents used a sharp object to carve a hole in the victims' pants pockets, police said.
The bandit, who in police jargon is referred to as a lush worker, first struck on Feb. 18 at 2 a.m., where a 22-year-old man woke from his slumber near the Bushwick Aberdeen L train stop, realizing there was a hole in his back pocket and his $550 iPhone 6, ID and debit card were missing.
Two weeks later on Feb. 28 at 12:45 a.m., a 23-year-old man realized when he woke up at the Rockaway Parkway L train stop that his back pocket was cut open and he was missing two debit cards, a credit card and his Wisconsin ID.
Then on March 11, at 2:30 a.m. the thief struck again, cutting the front and back pockets of a sleeping 21-year-old rider, snatching his iPhone 6, his New York ID and his insurance card. The man discovered the holes in his pants when the train approached the Dekalb Avenue stop, police said.
On March 28 at 4:15 a.m., the bandit sliced open the pockets of a sleeping 28-year-old who awoke at the Broadway Junction stop and realized, while the thief didn't manage to steal anything from him, his leg had been cut in the process, police said.
In the fifth theft, the subway pocket slicer took credit cards and a wallet from a dozing 27-year-old and fled the train at the Sutter Avenue stop, where he was captured on security camera footage wearing a Yankees hat, a light blue button-down shirt, a dark jacket and jeans, police said, who later released the video in an effort to track the man down.
The final two thefts both took place on April 2 around 5 a.m. in the morning, police said.
A 24-year-old man discovered his pockets were cut and that he was missing $50 cash, a necklace, and his iPhone 6 when he woke up at the 105th Street Stop.
Then at the Rockaway Avenue L train stop, a 39-year-old man discovered his pocket was cut and that he was missing $50 cash and bank cards, police said.
Anyone with information can call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS.