Worker held after causing Long Island blackout with stolen truck

Aug. 27, 2013 at 3:56 PM

NEW YORK, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- A power failure on New York's Long Island, leaving about 6,000 customers without power, was caused by a stolen truck pulling down poles, officials said.

A Metropolitan Transportation Authority employee, identified as Joel Grasman, 51, took a boom truck from a transit facility in the New York City borough of Queens early Tuesday morning to transport welding equipment later reported missing, police said.

As he drove toward his home in Elmont, N.Y., on Long Island, he "took down about 12 of our poles," at about 4 a.m. Tuesday, said Mark Gross, spokesman for the Long Island Power Authority.

Nassau County, N.Y., police said Grasman appeared to have taken down the power lines by using the elevating boom attached to the truck.

Grasman was apprehended later on Tuesday morning. Charges are pending a police spokeswoman said.

By 9:15 a.m., only about 520 customers were without power, the power authority reported.

Another employee arrived at the transit facility Tuesday morning to find the power had been cut and welding equipment was missing, the New York Times said.

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