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LIRR Workers Busted In Copper Wire Theft

More than $250K worth of wire stolen since 2010 in organized scheme, according to Nassau County district attorney.

An organized ring of 15 Long Island Rail Road employees and two others were indicted Friday after conspiring to steal more than $250,000 worth of copper wire belonging to the LIRR — some of which came from Brooklyn and Queens — Nassau County District Attormey Kathleen Rice said.

The men were charged with various crimes, including: conspiracy, grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property and theft of services.

The stolen wire, lifted from scrap bins in Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk between Jan. 1, 2010 and Jan. 10, 2013, was needed for signal communications and electrical transition, according to the investigation.

Using LIRR trucks to transport the wire to their own personal vehicles the defendants sold the stolen material at Two Brother’s Scrap Metal in Farmingdale for a total of $253,694, according to Rice.

"It is a sad day for the Long Island Rail Road," said LIRR President Helena Williams in Mineola for a press conference Friday. "When we have employees stealing from the company, and we have employees that are violating public trust it is a very, very sad day for our company."

The MTA became aware of possible wrong-doing by certain employees last year and will move to terminate the pensions of all convicted LIRR employees involved in the case, according to Williams, who said the level of trust and honesty at the LIRR has been broken.

Mass Transit Authority Inspector General Barry L. Kluger said his office has begun to investigate the apparent lack of effective LIRR supervision surrounding the case as well as evident vulnerabilities in the LIRR’s inventory controls. 

Two assistant LIRR foremen were among the 15 employees charged, according to Kluger. 

The defendants used the drivers license of a non-employee for the majority of sales to the scrap yard, and divided proceeds among others on their work gang, according to Rice.

Rice said it was outrageous that the thefts were committed in the wake of catastrophic damage to the LIRR from Superstorm Sandy. 

"These employees stole from everyone who uses the MTA when they pocketed the proceeds for their own enrichment," said Rice. "It is outrageous that these pubic employees neglected their jobs, and stole from us all especially during this critical period of recovery for our region." 

Williams said the LIRR has stepped up video surveillance of yards and shops where scrap metal is stored and more secure storage bins across property.

Charged in the indictment are:

  • Craig Borsetti, 31, of Mastic. Borsetti is charged with two counts each of conspiracy in the fourth and fifth Degrees. He faces up to four years in prison if convicted.
  • Afiba Moore, 26, of Brooklyn. Moore is charged with two counts each of Conspiracy in the fourth and fifth degress, two counts of criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree, and criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth Degree. He faces up to four years in prison if convicted.
  • Jose Almonte, 31, of Babylon. Almonte is charged with two counts each of conspiracy in the fourth and fifth degrees. He faces up to four years in prison if convicted.
  • Eric Axelson, 51, of East Patchogue. Axelson is charged with two counts of conspiracy in the fifth degree, grand larceny in the fourth degree, and criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree. He faces up to four years in prison if convicted.
  • Andrew Burke, 48, of Sayville. Burke is charged with two counts of conspiracy in the fourth degree and six counts of conspiracy in the fifth degree. He faces up to four years in prison if convicted.
  • Christopher Callesano, 31, of Bethpage. Callesano is charged with two counts each of conspiracy in the fourth and fifth degrees, grand larceny in the fourth degree, criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree, and theft of services. He faces up to four years in prison if convicted.
  • Michael Campbell, 33, of Bethpage. Campbell is charged with six counts of conspiracy in the fifth degree and theft of services. He faces up to one year in jail if convicted.
  • Robert Toomey, 50, of Hicksville. Toomey is charged with four counts of conspiracy in the fifth degree. He faces up to one year in jail if convicted.
  • Michael Carsten, 26, of Amityville. Carsten is charged with two counts of conspiracy in the fifth degree. He faces up to one year in jail if convicted.
  • Russell Genoino, 35, of Farmingville. Genoino is charged with four counts of grand larceny in the fourth degree, two counts of Conspiracy in the fifth degree, four counts of criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree, and theft of services. He faces up to four years in prison if convicted.
  • Kevin Graham, 29, of West Islip. Graham is charged with four counts of grand larceny in the fourth degree, two counts of conspiracy in the fifth degree, and four counts of criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree. He faces up to four years in prison if convicted.
  • Panikos Pafitis, 33, of Mastic. Pafitis is charged with two counts of conspiracy in the fifth degree. He faces up to one year in jail if convicted.
  • Daniel Petroro, 26, of Islip. Petroro is charged with two counts of conspiracy in the fourth degree and four counts of conspiracy in the fifth degree. He faces up to four years in prison if convicted.
  • Daniel Rose, 35, of Rosedale. Rose is charged with two counts of conspiracy in the fourth degree and four counts of conspiracy in the fifth degree. He faces up to four years in prison if convicted.
  • Daniel Santander, 33, of Elmont. Santander is charged with two counts of conspiracy in the fifth degree. He faces up to one year in jail if convicted
  • Leroy Simmonds, 50, of Bridgeport, Conn. Simmonds is charged with two counts each of conspiracy in the fourth and fifth degrees and theft of services. He faces up to four years in prison if convicted.
  • Adisa Springle, 30, of Brooklyn. Springle is charged with two counts of criminal possession of stolen property in the third degree, grand larceny in the fourth degree, four counts of criminal possession stolen property in the fourth degree, two counts of conspiracy in the fourth degree, four counts of conspiracy in the fifth degree, criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree, and theft of services. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.
JIM TURANO January 28, 2013 at 12:41 PM
Great Paying job, with a terrific Pension. Who are they hiring these days? Unbelievable! Oh well, the positive side is, there will be plenty of job openings for some fortunate people.
Steffen Jobbs January 28, 2013 at 07:20 PM
Why can't they show the faces of these crooks? Let people know who these thieves are when they apply for their new jobs. I'd sure like to see who they are so I could steer clear of them when I see them. Since they all pleaded innocent, I'm sure they feel they were being wrongfully charged and felt they were doing nothing wrong. People need to know what type of person they're hiring when these crooks don't know right from wrong. I'm sure these crooks felt they were over-worked and underpaid and that it was the L.I.R.R.'s fault for leaving unused copper around as temptation. These crooks may even say it was a trap to catch the unwary.

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