LIRR: Riders arrested over smoking, assault

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MTA police arrested two Long Island Rail Road passengers early Sunday after they said one was smoking on the train and the other punched a conductor who tried to enforce a no-smoking policy.

Passengers Justin Merk, 20, and Lisa A. Moore, 21, both of Babylon, were on the train from Penn Station to Babylon when trouble arose about 12:30 a.m. at the Freeport station, an MTA spokesman said.

That's when, police said, Merk lit a cigarette and broke the glass to the emergency door release to leave the train. When the conductor responded, Merk spit at the conductor and Moore punched him in the face, the spokesman said.

The conductor, who sprained a thumb and a received a cut to his head, was transported to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore.

Merk was charged with criminal tampering and disorderly conduct. Moore was charged with second-degree assault.

"The LIRR condemns the actions of these two individuals," MTA spokesman Sam Zambuto said in a statement. "Assaulting a LIRR conductor is a felony. The LIRR will pursue all necessary action to ensure prosecution of those charged."

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