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Elmont Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing Truck that Knocked Down Dozens of Utility Lines

Grasman, 52, struck multiple telephone poles, traffic signals, wires and trees while driving stolen vehicle.

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Mineola, NY - April 3, 2014 - Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced that an Elmont man pleaded guilty today to causing a mile-long path of destruction stretching from Elmont to Valley Stream by driving a stolen truck with an exterior boom extended in August 2013.

Joel Grasman, 52, pleaded guilty today before Nassau County Court Judge Anthony Paradiso to Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the 2nd Degree (a C felony), Criminal Mischief in the 4th Degree (an A misdemeanor), and Criminal Tampering in the 2nd Degree (an A misdemeanor). Grasman is expected to receive a sentence of 1 to 3 years in prison, plus restitution to utility companies, homeowners and car owners. He is due back in court for sentencing on May 13.

“Over the course of a few hours, this defendant stole valuable equipment from his employer and wreaked havoc on several neighborhoods unlucky enough to be in his path,” DA Rice said. “My office will continue our efforts to hold this defendant accountable for the destruction he caused.”

DA Rice said that Grasman went to an MTA facility in Richmond Hill where he worked and loaded a Mack “boom” truck with multiple pieces of welding equipment at 1 a.m. on Aug. 27, 2013. After unloading the equipment at a residence in Elmont, Grasman attempted to drive the truck with the boom in the extended and upright position, striking multiple telephone poles, traffic signal lights, utility wires and trees.

Grasman caused interruptions to LIPA, Verizon and Optimum service and over $500,000 worth of damage to utility lines, homes and cars. He was arrested later that day by the Nassau County Police Department after leaving the vehicle on the entrance ramp of the Southern State Parkway at Exit 15 in Valley Stream.

Assistant District Attorney Jesse Aviram of DA Rice’s County Court Bureau is prosecuting the case. Grasman is represented by Peter Menoudakos, Jr., Esq.