A group of 15 Long Island Rail Road employees surrendered to police this morning in connection with a copper-stealing ring that has been on-going for the last two years, according to multiple sources.
The group, according to ABC-7, allegedly stole upwards of $200,000 worth of scrap copper wiring from multiple work sites and rail yards, including the recently updated Babylon Rail Yard on the Babylon Village and West Islip border.
Once the highly sought after copper was taken, workers sold it to a Long Island scrap yard for cash and split the profits.
"I'm shocked, and I'm embarrassed," Christoper Natale, of the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, told ABC-7. "This is not indicative of Long Island Rail Road employees. We would never condone this type of behavior."
He added: "If they did something wrong, they're going to have to pay for that."
The Long Island Rail Road Commuter Council also voiced its concern over the alleged crimes, calling them disturbing.
“At a time when riders are weeks away from yet another fare increase and budgets are balanced with the narrowest of margins, these thefts are particularly reprehensible,” said LIRRCC Chair Mark Epstein. “If these allegations are true, these LIRR employees have committed a serious breach of public trust and criminal charges and restitution should be pursued vigorously."
According to the New York Daily News, the Nassau County District Attorney's office, MTA Inspector General's Office and MTA Police Department are working together on the investigation.
Officials said the workers will be charged with felony grand larceny, possession of stolen property, conspiracy and other various charges. Accused workers were already suspended with pay by the LIRR, but will be suspended without pay once they are formally charged, according to the Daily News.
Epistein added: "The LIRR must reexamine its policies and procedures to ensure that incidents of this kind do not occur again.”
Two scrap yard workers are also charged in the scheme for their purchase of the materials.
- Babylon Man Among 17 Accused of Stealing Copper Wire From LIRR
- W. Islip Man Among 17 Accused of Stealing Copper Wire From LIRR