Cable thief strands straphangers
by Patrick Kearns
May 27, 2015 | 5235 views | 0 0 comments | 106 106 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Emergency crews work to repair the damage done by a copper cable thief.
Emergency crews work to repair the damage done by a copper cable thief.
Straphangers faced long delays and cancellations thanks to a copper cable thief in Queens, this morning. According to an MTA spokesperson, service was disrupted for thousands after someone pulled off a massive theft of copper cable from the A line subway trackers near Howard Beach.

“This morning’s service disruption was directly caused by the theft of cable from along the subway right of way. This 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,” said MTA New York City Transit President Carmen Bianco. “We are working closely with the NYPD Transit Bureau to help them investigate this crime and identify the culprits responsible.”

The theft caused immediate emergency repairs to get power back to the lines and will cause residual delays throughout the day. Shuttle buses are available for service to the Rockaways.

Some service will be restored during the day and will be subsequently suspended again, overnight, as crews continue their emergency repairs.

Residual effects were felt along the entire A and C lines with trains stored at the Rockaway yard staying trapped there, with no power to bring them into service.

Trains in service on the A line cannot use the terminals at Far Rockaway-Mott Av and Rockaway Park-Beach 116 St to turn around, further limiting capacity along the line. Some A trains are terminating at Euclid Av, where the C usually terminates, forcing a reduction in C service as well.

Officials first discovered the theft at 11:22 p.m. on Tuesday night when a northbound train lost power.

It’s speculated that the cable was stolen to be sold as scrap. Approximately 500 feet of cable was discovered stolen from roughly 12 locations along the tracks near Howard Beach.

The delays gave transit advocates even more fuel to voice their problems with the MTA’s service, especially in Queens.

Philip A McManus of Queens Public Transit Committee called it “transportation chaos.”

His organization plans to hold a rally on Thursday at the monthly transportation meeting, at Bayswater Jewish Center 2355 Healy Ave.

The most up-to-date information on MTA service status is always available at For immediate notice of service changes, sign up for email or text alerts at For weekend subway service changes,

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