Vigilante fake NYPD cop pepper-sprays Manhattan tourist subway fare evader By:

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By Rocco ParascandolaNew York Daily News

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NEW YORK — A vigilante posing as an NYPD cop pepper-sprayed a tourist he caught entering a Manhattan subway station without paying the fare, police said Thursday.

The bizarre incident sparked off 6:35 p.m. Sunday at the Whitehall St.-South Ferry station on the uptown R train platform.

The vigilante saw the family enter the station through an open exit gate without paying the fare, at which point he slipped a chain with what appeared to be an NYPD detective badge around his neck.

When he confronted one of the family members, a 46-year-old man, the man blew him off.

“I’m a real cop conducting an operation,” the vigilante insisted, according to cops. He then got on his phone and said he’s a cop making a “collar,” police jargon for an arrest, for theft of service, the charge that covers fare evasion.

When the father tried to walk away, the vigilante pepper-sprayed him in the back of the head.

The victim took a taxi to Bellevue Hospital to be treated for burns and swelling on his face.

The vigilante got away on an uptown R train. Cops recovered surveillance footage of him leaving the W. 8th Street-NYU station after getting off the train.

On Thursday, the NYPD released pictures of the suspect — and his fake badge — and asked the public’s help identifying and tracking him down.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.

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