MTA truck thief arraigned day after Elmont rampage

LIPA restores full power Tuesday night


Joel Grasman, 51, who was arrested Tuesday for ripping through his hometown of Elmont with a stolen MTA boom truck, causing power outages and extensive property damage, was arraigned on Wednesday at First District Court, in Hempstead.

Grasman is charged with second-degree criminal possession of stolen property, third-degree criminal possession of stolen property, first-degree reckless endangerment, first-degree criminal tampering and second-degree criminal mischief.

Long Island Power Authority spokesman Mark Gross told the Herald that full power had been restored to the 6,100 homes that had lost power due to the rampage. Gross said that “two or three homes” remained without power because of heavy sustained damage. Those homes require electricians for rewiring and LIPA was working with the residents to help secure services.

Gross estimated LIPA’s costs at a “couple hundred thousand dollars.”

Police said that LIPA’s costs, combined with costs sustained by Verizon and Optimum for their respective services, totaled in excess of $500,000 in damage.

Grasman, a worker with the MTA for more than 20 years, had stolen the truck from an MTA facility in Queens to transport welding equipment to his Elmont home. The boom on the truck came up as Grasman drove through Elmont at 4 a.m. Tuesday.

Many residents stood outside of their homes Tuesday morning and afternoon, observing the the devastation that surrounded them in the wake of the early morning rampage.

“I turned to my husband and said, ‘this is too centralized to be a terrorist attack,’” Elmont resident Judith A. Senning told the Herald. “I was awake and heard pops and loud bangs with lights coming from outside. I panicked.”

Bail for Grasman was set at $200,000 cash or bond.