EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

August 15, 2013

Police arrest Plaistow man for pulling knife at MBTA conductor

By Alex Lippa

---- — A Plaistow man was arrested for threatening a train conductor twice within a week, police said

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Transit Police said Eric Foster, 28, of Plaistow pulled a knife on the conductor and shouted racial slurs at him on Aug. 9 in Haverhill. On Tuesday, police said Foster again shouted racial slurs and threatened the same conductor, this time in Boston, and was arrested.

Transit Police Deputy Chief Robert Lenehan said Foster was on the commuter train from Boston to Haverhill on Aug. 9. When the train arrived in Haverhill shortly before 10 p.m., a conductor noticed Foster sleeping and told him that he had to get off the train.

“I guess he didn’t know that we don’t go to Plaistow yet,” Lenehan said. The MBTA is considering a proposal to extend the line to Plaistow.

Lenehan said when the conductor woke him up, Foster became combative. He challenged the conductor to a fight and pulled out a folding knife and started waving it in the conductor’s face, according to police. Lenehan said the conductor called police, but Foster fled before Haverhill and Transit Police could arrive.

With only a vague description, police weren’t able to catch Foster— until Tuesday night.

Lenehan said Foster tried to board the train from Boston to Haverhill at 8:30 p.m. but was spotted by the same conductor he had threatened. The conductor approached Foster and told him he wasn’t allowed on the train, then called police.

“Foster threatened to smash in his face, break his glasses and shouted derogatory racial slurs at him,” Lenehan said. “By the time we showed up, he had fled the scene.”

Lenehan said officers swept the area around North Station in Boston until officers found Foster inside the 7-11 on Causeway Street about 10 minutes later. Police arrested Foster after the conductor identified him.

Lenehan praised the conductor for his behavior in dealing with Foster.

“They are here to defuse the situation,” Lenehan said. “He did a good job not letting him on the train and calling us when it started to get out of hand.”

Lenehan said that there were no signs that Foster was under the influence of alcohol or drugs in either incident.

Foster was arraigned in Haverhill District Court yesterday on a charge of assault by means of a dangerous weapon related to the Aug. 9 incident. He is being held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing on Aug. 19.

Lenehan said Foster is also expected to be charged with making criminal threats and intimidating a witness related to Tuesday’s incident. Those charges would be heard in a Boston court.