Probe snags alleged LIRR ‘Copper Crooks’ in theft ring

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WEST ISLIP, NY (PIX11)  — Nassau County prosecutors will be calling 15 Long Island Rail Road communication workers “Copper Crooks” once an indictment is unsealed on Friday.

PIX 11 News has been informed that the linemen who specialize in the installation of fiber optics and telephone systems will be criminally charged with the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars in scrap copper metal.

News of the arrests did not sit well with Christoper Natale, a 25-year signal foreman and chairman of the Brother of Railroad Signalmen.

“This is not indicative of Long Island Rail Road employees or our organization.  We would not ever condone such behavior.”

The LIRR rail yards in West Islip and Jamaica were the primary targets.  The used-up copper would be taken, then sold at a Long Island scrap yard.  Late last week, the union first received word of the more than two-year investigation. The  linemen were taken out of their rotations on Tuesday by the railroad.

The workers are set to turn themselves in at 7 a.m. Friday in Mineola.  If the alleged thefts among the workers — who’ve been on the job from between 5 and 25 years — date back to 2010, why weren’t they arrested sooner?

“That is really valid point because it’s politically motivated.  They tend to do these things to have these long drawn-out investigations when they could have picked these guys up three years ago, arrested them and fired them, and do what they had to do,” Natale said.

Coincidentally the union has also been working without a contract during that stretch. They say the MTA has not been negotiating in good faith.

The MTA would not comment on the investigation into this latest gravy-train scandal.  It was just last week that one of the Dr. Feelgoods filing fraudulent diagnosis to LIRR workers pleaded guilty to fraud in the billion dollar pension scandal.


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  • iMan

    This same disgusting thievery of lost & unclaimed property is commonplace at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in NYC. The pubic must be aware of the crimes that are being committed against them when their lost property is stolen from the PABT's Lost & Found Dept. by Port Authority Bus Terminal Supervisors. Google “Donna Lebourne abc news." & watch the video, or click on the link below.

    If you lost an item at the PABT & it was returned to you, put in a theft report with the PAPD to get your lost item replaced because most likely your item was stolen by PABT management.

    It would be nice to see the Port Authority aggressively go after the criminals and their enablers that they employ who engage in these same disgraceful crimes and even worse criminal acts, i.e. the unconscionable and highly illegally procedure of throwing lost passports found at the PABT in the garbage in this age of global terrorism and rampant identity theft. Google “found, stolen, trashed by PA.” See the link below.

    No one should be above the law no matter who they work for.

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