Friday, October 24, 2014

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Police: Teen Punched MTA Bus Driver In Face, Fled

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TWC News: Police: Teen Punched MTA Bus Driver In Face, Fled
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Police in the Bronx are looking for a teenager who they say boarded a Bx21 bus earlier this month, punched the driver in the face and ran off. NY1's Tina Redwine filed the following report.

Police are looking for a teen in a gray sweatshirt who they say sucker-punched a bus driver in the Bronx.

It happened two weeks ago on the Bx21.

A surveillance camera caught the suspect, who police say is about 15 years old, not paying his fare.

The driver told NY1 he didn't say a word about fare beating but when he opened the doors at a stop in Westchester Square, he was punched in the face.

He said he blacked out but the MTA says the attack was caught by the surveillance camera. The police department said it's not ready to release that video.

The MTA said as of June, there were 69 assaults on drivers, down a bit from a year before but still frightening to those behind the wheel.

"Most of the time we're all alone out there," said one driver. "It's rough."

The union said it's particularly tough in the Bronx, which has had more assaults this year than any other borough.

The MTA said it's installed cameras on 583 buses and driver protection barriers on 642 buses to deter crime.

Riders said it's unfortunate that this bus didn't have a barrier.

"Although it's a felony to hit a bus driver, I mean, what protection do they really have?" said one rider.

The police department said it's had patrol cops board buses on problem routes since the spring and the MTA says it's been a deterrent. But the union said drivers report rarely seeing police.

"They still have not had a presence on the bus," said TWU Board Member Frank Austin. "If you ask any bus operator, that's what we have been asking for and the union has been asking for. But unfortunately, it hasn't happened."

Anyone with information on the case should contact the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS, or text CRIMES and then enter TIP577, or visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.

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