A New York City subway agent was the victim last week of a would-be robber who used arson to commit his crime – but technology saved the day.

News sources report that a man approached a subway token booth in Crown Heights on Friday night, tossed gasoline into the booth’s small opening and demanded money.

A gasoline-soaked t-shirt

MTA employee Percillia Augustine-Soverall reported that the man threatened to set the gasoline on fire if she didn’t hand over money. He followed up the threat by setting fire to what appeared to be a t-shirt, which was soaked in gasoline.

However, the flame activated the booth’s Halon system, which detects harmful substances. The system flooded the booth with white foam, extinguishing the fire before it spread.

A bystander helped

A bystander knocked the shirt out of the man’s hand and stomped on it. The suspect – later identified as Everette Robinson – fled, but was later arrested and charged with attempted robbery.

This was not the first time a robbery involving arson was used against a token booth worker. In 1996, a worker died after an attacker squirted a flammable liquid into his booth.