ELMONT - An MTA employee is accused of stealing a bucket truck that ripped down power lines as he drove through his Elmont neighborhood this morning.

The MTA says Joel Grasman has been an electrician for 23 years and worked at a transit yard in Richmond Hill. According to police, Grassman was trying to fit stolen welding equipment from the yard in his car, but it wouldn't fit, so he stole the bucket truck.

Authorities say Grasman drove the stolen truck back to his home in Elmont and unloaded the welding equipment. While attempting to drive the truck back to the transit yard, the boom, in the upright position, struck telephone poles, traffic signal lights, utility wires and trees, causing damages to LIPA and cable services.

Police placed Grasman under arrest after he allegedly abandoned the truck at the Southern State Parkway ramp at exit 15.

News 12 has learned that Grasman was on sick leave at the time he allegedly stole the truck. He was taken to a local hospital for a routine evaluation, according to his attorney.

Grasman was charged with criminal mischief, intentional damage to property and reckless damage to property.

He is expected to be arraigned on Wednesday at First District Court in Hempstead.

For extended Chopper 12 footage from above the scene, watch the clip to the left or click News 12 Extra on Optimum TV channel 612.