Copper thieves shut down New York's A train

Sections of cable were vandalized and stolen from the A line south of Howard Beach late in the evening of Tue., May 26, 2015. The 2300 A from Far Rockaway to 207 St. lost power.
Source: MTAphotos | Flickr

One of New York City's major subway lines was shut down for hours after copper thieves stripped about 500 feet of cable from 12 different locations along the tracks.

The A line, which connects parts of Queens and Brooklyn to the West Side of Manhattan, was suspended after the theft was discovered around midnight Tuesday. New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority says the thieves were the direct cause of the delays and the reason why the trains are being kept off the track through Wednesday night for emergency repairs.

"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 Carmen Bianco, president of MTA New York City Transit. "We are working closely with the NYPD Transit Bureau to help them investigate this crime and identify the culprits responsible."

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As many as 100,000 commuters were affected by the morning delays, but thousands more stand to have their commutes affected in some way as other lines compensate for the suspended service.

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It's not the first time New York City's tracks have been targeted by copper thieves. Last year a man was arrested after stealing more than 1,000 feet of copper cables from eight different parts of the Long Island Rail Road.

The MTA thinks that this is a similar case where the copper was sought to be sold as scrap metal. Copper prices are up nearly 375 percent since 2003.

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