By Beth Germano

BOSTON (CBS) – MBTA police have released a surveillance image of a man wanted for questioning for an alleged assault on a 71-year-old Dorchester man. Police say he’s a “piggybacker” who pushed through the fare gate trying to avoid paying for the fare at Ashmont station in Dorchester.

The alleged victim, Wayne Perry, says he saw the man eyeing him as he entered the station around 10 p.m. January 11 as he was headed to his overnight shift at a Boston hospital. “I saw this guy I kind of figured he was watching me,” Perry tells WBZ-TV. “I went through the gate and I stopped to take my card and put it back in my wallet and he pushed me through.”

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Suspect wanted in assault at Asmont MBTA station (WBZ-TV)

Perry says it has happened to him several times and this time he was defiant. I said ‘no you’re not getting through on me, you’re not piggybacking.’ He said ‘yes I am’ and pushed me way forward.”

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In fact WBZ-TV cameras caught piggybackers in the act and commuters say it’s a familiar sight that’s costing the MBTA plenty. “Just trying to get in. They’re in a rush, it’s so busy so many people that they can get away with it,” said a rider who did not want to be identified.

Wayne Perry was assaulted at Ashmont station (WBZ-TV)

MBTA officials say it’s not just a challenge for them but all transit departments trying to police piggybackers. They try to have dedicated officers at the fare gates. But at 71 years old, Wayne Perry believes he’s seen as more vulnerable and easy to follow for a free fare, and is now more cautious. “I’m watching, if I see people behind me I stand back and let everyone through. I don’t want someone to push me harder.”

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It’s not just physical, he says, but someone getting away with not paying their fair share.

Beth Germano