Posted on July 31, 2007

Subway Thugs Get Knocked Off Of The Rails

Peter Donohue, New York Daily News, July 29, 2007

Their rap sheets stretch longer than a 10-car train, with about 660 arrests among them.

The less time these 31 career criminals spend riding the subways, the less likely straphangers are to be robbed, assaulted or knifed.

The Daily News obtained exclusive details about the subway thugs whose recent arrests have helped cut crime in the city’s underground to record lows.


“Our transit officers have done outstanding work in apprehending repeat subway offenders. That’s been key to making the transit system so safe,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told The News.

Other members of the rogues’ gallery are:

* Gilberto Beach, 42, a convicted pickpocket. He has been such a menace that his parole officer—at the request of the NYPD—once banned him from the subways while on parole.

But he couldn’t stay above ground and was arrested by transit cops in March on a grand larceny charge—his 15th arrest in the subways and his 20th overall, police said.

* Leroy Lawrence, 42. He already had 18 arrests on his rap sheet when busted in March for a series of purse snatchings, police said.

* James Lee, 43, was arrested earlier this month for allegedly robbing subway riders at knifepoint.

He had nine arrests, including seven for robbery in the subways, records show.

Among the worst of the subway thugs is Michael Sanders, police said.

Sanders, 41, already had been booked for 50 arrests and five subway robberies when he struck again in February, police said.

The diminutive man, who stands just 4-feet-11 and weighs 130 pounds, allegedly attacked a 16-year-old girl on a staircase at the Queens Plaza subway station.

Sanders choked the girl until she lost consciousness, then ran off with her purse, according to a police complaint filed by Detective William Thomas of the Queens robbery squad.

After detectives circulated a description of the mugger, Sanders was picked up lurking near a subway stairwell in Queens, police said.