2017-01-25 / Features

Teen Subway Arsonist Arrested


Piotr Olszewski, a 30-year-old Brooklyn man, said he wondered why a teenager was staring at him as he headed home on a Queens Bound G train early on January 20 – until he awoke to find the teen standing over him, grinning and watching him burn.

Officers said Christopher Jackson, 18, was the only other passenger on the train when it pulled into the Court Square station. Jackson, who has a history of arson arrests, had a grin on his face “like he was enjoying the burn,” the police source said.

MTA motorman Duane Sorrentino and conductor Robert Turner smelled smoke as they walked out of the subway dispatch office moments later, police said.

“They realized the smoke wasn’t coming from the tracks, and when they looked around they saw feathers on the platform, along with a pair of still-burning gloves. Sorrentino looked into the train and saw Olszewski’s charred clothing.”

Jackson approached Turner when police arrived at the station, pretending to be a straphanger and saying “What’s going on?” What happened?’ Turner caught the eye of one officer and pointed out Jackson, who was arrested on arson, reckless endangerment and assault charges.

Officers said Jackson has a 2014 arrest for fighting with a student at his Long Island City High School. He was arrested again on October 19, and charged with arson and reckless endangerment after he was spotted setting fire to a garbage can and part of a fence in Long Island City. He was back on the street on December 6, when he was arrested for puncturing a tire with a box cutter in Long Island City.

Olszewski was taken to the New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill-Cornell Burn Unit, where he was treated for severe burns on his left hand and arm. He was released soon after. —Liz Goff

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