Man drove through OWN neighborhood tearing down power lines with MTA truck

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

With a smile on his face, 53-year-old Joel Grasman said little while being led by two members of the Nassau County Police Department after his arrest.

“It was a big mistake,” was all that Grasman would say to reporters, after he allegedly stole an MTA truck with a cherry picker.  Police believe Grasman, who is an MTA worker, then drove up and down the streets of his own neighborhood with the crane fully extended – tearing down power lines and poles in the process.

More than 6,000 people woke up to find they were without power, and that the street looked like a tornado had passed through during the night.

“I don’t care who he is…there’s something freakin’ wrong,” said resident Lisa Mataix.

Eli Joseph had just returned from a relaxing vacation from ocean city Maryland when in the early morning hours he heard the destruction.

“I hear this loud boom and I go to the window and I check to see what’s going on and I literally hear wires breaking off like they were rubber bands,” said Joseph.

Grasman – a 23 year veteran with the MTA allegedly broke into his own company’s yard at 129th and Jamaica Avenue in Queens…
Police say Grasman stole welding equipment and an MTA truck- which is exactly the one he drove to Elmont where he lives.

Police caught up to Grasman and with charges still pending against him he is expected to be arraigned first thing Wednesday morning.
MTA colleagues and friends expressed shock over Grasman’s actions- calling him a nice guy- a veteran with the MTA with no reason to do what he allegedly did.

Those same colleagues were at his home Tuesday to recover the stolen equipment.

His family is also stunned, Grasman’s attorney speaking outside of their home on their behalf.
“Obviously the family is very upset,” said family attorney Peter Menoudakos.  “He’s a great guy, nobody can understand this.”