Police pepper sprayed and arrested a homeless man living in a Manhattan subway tunnel earlier this month after he swung a wire at them, NYPD Transit chief Jason Wilcox said Monday during an MTA meeting.
Wilcox said transit cops took a train into a tunnel near the Delancey-Essex station on the Lower East Side around 10 a.m. on March 18 and found a man who “had built sort of a small structure in the cutout.”
“We deployed the train, we all stepped out and he started swinging a wire at the officers as they responded,” said Wilcox. “They had to use mace to stop that.”
The man living in the tunnel was identified by a police spokeswoman as Anthony Sanchez, 45. He was charged with menacing and criminal trespass, the spokeswoman said.
Wilcox said it was one of two operations in recent weeks to remove homeless people encamped in subway tunnels. The enforcement is part of a larger plan by Mayor Adams to have police crack down on homeless people in the subways.
“We’re encountering homeless individuals who are deep in the tunnels, deep in the cutouts,” Wilcox said.
His comments came a month after Metropolitan Transportation Authority chief development officer Jamie Torres-Springer claimed that transit crews had found 29 homeless encampments in non-public areas of subway tunnels.