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Sayville Man Among 17 Accused of Stealing Copper Wire From LIRR

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, according to Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice.

Among those arrested was Andrew Burke, 48, of Sayville. He 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.

The other men arrested 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 Nassau, Brooklyn, Queens and Suffolk between Jan. 1, 2010, and Jan. 10, 2013, was needed for signal communications and electrical transmission, 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, 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.

"It is now proved to me that I cannot have that level of trust and honesty," said Williams.

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 employees were part of Work Gangs 30, 31, and 33 in the railroads communications department where they maintain railroad yard signal systems and the two non-employees charged were acquaintances of work gang members. 

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.

The 17 defendants were arraigned Friday by Nassau District Court Judge Angelo Delligatti.

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.
  • 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.
Pat Hughes January 26, 2013 at 03:07 PM
Pr show that's all this is. Guys forever have been taking scrap metal from jobs. It's the MTA trying to show they are saving money. A dog and pony show. I do not know any of these men but I would be willing to bet they are all good folks. Lights, camera, actions so the politicians can say they are doing something.
paintsflowers January 26, 2013 at 04:14 PM
There is no excuse for robbery. Good folks? Not
Lauren Czajkowski January 27, 2013 at 12:53 AM
Yes, but don't believe everything you hear. Save judgement 'til the end. More people's lives and honor are trashed b/c of heresay. And NEVER EVER trust in Newsday as a reliable source!!! I know one man for sure is absolutely innocent -so we'll see if true justice prevails.
paintsflowers January 27, 2013 at 12:23 PM
Yes-Newsday is just the lamestream media, but there are too many involved in this to be just a lark. Perhaps they will find out who sold the stuff to the vender. Hard to believe he didn't know this was stolen consideriing the volume.

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