The NYPD has begun cracking down on people who sell churros in subway stations, DNAinfo reports.
The website reports that several women have been arrested or ticketed by cops for selling the crunchy pastries inside the city’s subway system. One woman told the site that after she was arrested, cops confiscated her churros, took her to a precinct station and snacked on the treats in front of her.
“They take the churros, saying they need them for evidence and that they will return them, but they don’t return them,” Ana Alvarado told DNAinfo in Spanish. “When they get to the precinct, whoever wants one grabs one, and whatever is left they put in a black bag.”
Alvarado, a 43-year-old who emigrated from Ecuador and lives in Queens, says she has been arrested seven times in the last two and a half years, but continues to hawk the snacks to feed herself and her two sons, ages 9 and 12. She said that once she gets arrested at one station, she has taken to moving to another.
“We live running and hiding from police,” she told DNainfo. “If I don’t work, who is going to feed my kids?”
Several other vendors who spoke to DNAinfo also recalled being arrested or ticketed, with some being hauled away to holding cells for the night.
The NYPD didn’t respond to the site’s requests for comment, but the MTA says that any commercial activity in the subway system is illegal unless a vendor gets permission from the transit authority.
Vendors charged with selling food without a license can face fines ranging from $500 to $1,000, DNAinfo reports.
Subway vendors are finding themselves in cuffs more often, according to statistics reported by the New York Post. The paper reports that 89 vendors were arrested this year through the first half of March, nearly double the number of arrests over the same period in 2014.
DNAinfo also reports that three churros vendors were arrested last month at the L train platform in the Union Square subway station.