Eight LIRR conductors caught pocketing tickets: investigators

A general view of a Long Island Railroad train or LIRR train as seen at Penn Station in New York, NY on August 6, 2020.
An MTA inspector general investigation caught eight LIRR conductors pocketing unpunched tickets.
Christopher Sadowski

Eight more Long Island Rail Road conductors were caught pocketing train tickets after an MTA inspector general probe led to the arrest of one of their colleagues, officials said Thursday.

IG and Suffolk County investigators witnessed the eight conductors neglect to punch customers’ tickets or submit those tickets to the LIRR — but did not catch them attempting to reuse the pocketed passes, according to a report released Thursday.

They were busted after investigators first probed Robert Anderson, 61, of West Islip — and caught him holding onto tickets instead of punching them while on duty. He pleaded guilty July 28 to misdemeanor official misconduct.

The eight other conductors do not face criminal charges.

“While the OIG did not find that the Conductors took these tickets for personal gain as Anderson did,” the report said, “the OIG found that the Conductors violated agency policy designed to protect the agency’s revenue and employees from allegations of fraud.”

The conductors have anywhere from four to 23 years with the railroad, the report said.

Confronted by investigators, the eight workers “could not explain why they handed some tickets into the agency and while throwing out others,” the IG’s office said. “The Conductors denied keeping customer tickets for personal gain.”

A general view of the interior of a LIRR commuter train as seen at Penn Station in New York, NY on August 6, 2020.
An MTA official said the group have all been issued official warning letters.
Christopher Sadowski

IG Carolyn Pokorny recommended the eight workers be “disciplined as the LIRR deems appropriate.”

An MTA official said the group have all been issued official warning letters in their personnel files, which could lead to further penalties down the line.

“The LIRR expects the highest performance from its train crew members and these conductors have been re-instructed about proper ticket collection procedures,” MTA spokesman Mike Cortez said in a statement. “Their actions do not represent the high levels of adherence to procedures of the vast majority of the LIRR’s hardworking employees.”

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