New York Daily News: BROOKLYN – When one of the five tipsters in line to split a Crime Stoppers reward pointed out subway shooting suspect Frank James to police, a responding officer called out: “Hey Frank.”
James turned toward the group of cops and answered: “I’ve been waiting for you.”
That account from law enforcement sources was among the new details to emerge about the arrest Wednesday that brought a sense of relief to New Yorkers rattled by the Tuesday morning subway shooting in Brooklyn.
The tipsters will split a $50,000 reward for spotting James, who stands accused of opening up smoke bombs and firing more than 30 bullets inside a jam-packed Manhattan-bound N train as it approached the 36th St. Station in Sunset Park Tuesday morning.
The terrifying shooting left 10 riders shot, 13 others injured and a city of commuters hesitant to step on a train in the world’s largest transit system.
Smartphones throughout the city lit up with an emergency push alert Wednesday morning, asking New Yorkers to be on the lookout for James, 62, who had been loose on the city streets for about 24 hours.
Tips on James’ whereabouts began filing in, leading detectives on a wild Manhattan manhunt.
James called the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline himself, telling dispatchers he was in the East Village. Bizarrely, he let the operator know what he was wearing and that he was carrying a green backpack, sources said.
He told the operator he was seeing his face all over the news and would be plugging his low-on-juice cell phone in to charge at a nearby McDonald’s.
When cops arrived at the fast food restaurant, James was already gone.
Moments later, security camera company worker Zack Tahhan, 21, of Union City, NJ, and two of his friends alerted cops James was charging his phone at a LinkNYC city internet kiosk.
James was taken into custody just after 1:40 p.m. at St. Mark’s Place and First Avenue in the East Village.
“If you smoke one cigar, you’re gonna want to smoke two cigars, you know? Like, this guy is gonna do it again if we don’t catch him, and we catch him. Thank God!” Tahhan said after the arrest.
Tahhan, his two friends and Twitter user Jack Griffin, who spotted James outside trendy Chinatown restaurant Dimes, will be four of the five recipients collecting the reward, said police sources.
The fifth person was not identified by police as Crime Stoppers reward beneficiaries are offered anonymity.
As he made his way to his local mosque Friday evening to break his Ramadan fast, Tahhan told the Daily News he just learned he would be receiving a reward.
“I just wanted to make sure everybody was safe and that America is safe before I even think about the money,” Tahhan said. “There were other people with me too. They helped.
The reward money consists of donations from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Transport Workers Union Local 100 and the New York City Police Foundation. Under CrimeStoppers rules, the money is distributed upon the arrest and indictment of a suspect.
“Thanks to the help of these five good Samaritans, the NYPD was able to do its job and get a dangerous suspect off the streets just hours after his picture was released,” Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement. “The bravery of these five individuals are what truly make New York City the greatest city in the world.”
James was ordered held without bail at a brief Brooklyn Federal Court hearing Thursday afternoon.