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DA Scraps LIRR Copper Wire Thieves

Bethpage residents among 17 charged 

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced on Jan. 25 that a grand jury indictment charged 17 people for stealing more than $250,000 worth of copper wire belonging to the Long Island Railroad (LIRR), selling it to a scrap yard and keeping the cash. 

Christopher Callesano, 31, of Bethpage, 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, 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.

The DA noted that between Jan. 1, 2010 and Jan. 10, 2013, 17 people conspired to steal copper wire from the LIRR, 15 of which were employees of the railroad. The employees are 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. 

A Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Inspector General’s investigation revealed that the defendants would steal new and used copper wire stored in railroad yards, often while on duty, and use LIRR trucks to transport the wire to their own personal vehicle, according to Rice. From there, they sold the stolen wire to Two Brother’s Scrap Metal in Farmingdale (for a total of $253,694), the DA noted. 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, Rice explained. 

Defendants would steal brand-new spools of wire, cut sections off the spools, or steal discarded copper wire the LIRR was gathering to sell for scrap and the price the defendants received was based on whether the wire was new or used, if it contained lead and if the surrounding plastic coating had been stripped away, Rice noted. 

Investigators from the MTA Inspector General’s Office, the MTA Police Department, Nassau County Police Department Electronics Squad and the District Attorney’s office collaborated to use high-tech investigation tools including GPS monitoring, pole cameras, license plate readers and other techniques to catch the thieves in the act.

“These defendants stole from everyone who rides on the Long Island Railroad when they stole public property and sold it to line their pockets,” Rice said. “What’s most outrageous is that they continued to commit these thefts even in the wake of catastrophic damage to the LIRR in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.”

Judge Angelo A. Delligatti arraigned the 17 alleged during the morning of Jan. 25. 

Deputy Chief Christiana McSloy of the Public Corruption Bureau is prosecuting the case for the DA’s Office. The DA’s office thanks the MTA Inspector General’s Office, the MTA Police Department, and the Nassau County Police Department’s Electronics Squad for their assistance with the investigation. 

“We will prosecute these crimes aggressively, and these arrests send a strong message to public employees everywhere that if you steal from the people, you’ll be caught and held accountable,” Rice said, noting that charges are accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.


News

The Levittown Volunteer Fire Department will host its annual Fire Prevention Open House on Friday, Oct. 10. The event will be held at the Gardiners Ave. Fire Headquarters from 6 to 9 p.m. 

 

October is designated as the National Fire Prevention Month. Every year, during the month of October the Levittown Fire Department Fire Prevention Committee visits all the schools in the fire district teaching and re-enforcing fire safety. In the United States every year, fires in homes are the cause of the largest loss of life and serious injuries. World wide, the United

States is at the top of the list for the most lives lost. This, even when all the fire departments across the country strive to get the fire safety message out, often giving out free smoke detectors.

Long Island Democrat David Denenberg has dropped out of the race for state Senate, after recent accusations that the Nassau County Legislator fraudulently billed his own law firm—

Davidoff, Hutcher & Citron—over $2 million for non-existent case work. According to published reports, Denenberg stated, “My family, the electorate, the campaign and this position are way too important to subject myself to such outrageous allegations and negative attacks against me personally. Therefore I withdraw from the race.”


Sports

Ex-college pugilist continues ring comeback for charity

The Long Island Fight for Charity will be hosting its 11th annual Charity Boxing Event on Nov. 24 at the Hilton in Melville. Among the 20 volunteers will be Levittown native Stefan Borovina, who will be fighting under the nickname “Lights Out.”  Borovina is the business manager at RMB Electric in Farmingdale. 

 

He also participated in the event last year, after a friend from his high school wrestling team informed him. Borovina jumped at the opportunity, having had a history in the boxing ring at the University of Notre Dame.

Men’s Farmingdale State College Soccer update (3-6, 0-1 Skyline)

 

The men’s soccer team fell in both matches last week - 4-3 vs. Staten Island (2 OT) and 3-2 at Mount Saint Mary (OT). Junior midfielder J.T. Famularo (Levittown) was named to the Skyline Honor Roll. Famularo recorded a team-leading three goals last week. He scored two versus Staten Island and added one goal in the OT loss at MSMC.


Calendar

Island Trees PTA - October 1

Towns E-Cycle - October 5

Levittown SEPTA Meeting - October 6


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com