Transit worker Joel Grasman arraigned on felony charges in Elmont outage incident

The MTA says Joel Grasman has been an electrician for 23 years and worked at a transit yard in Jamaica.

The MTA says Joel Grasman has been an electrician for 23 years and worked at a transit yard in Jamaica. (8/28/13)

ELMONT - The man accused of stealing an MTA truck, toppling over a dozen utility poles and knocking out power in Elmont was arraigned today on numerous felony charges.

Cops say transit worker Joel Grasman filled the truck with stolen welding equipment and drove it home to Elmont.

When Grasman tried to leave his home with the truck, police say its arm hit poles, trees and traffic lights. At the height of the incident, 6,000 outages were reported in the area of Elmont and North Valley Stream.

Grasman's attorney says he was a Sept. 11 first responder and has since suffered from bipolar disorder. He says Grasman was taking a lot of medication, which he says may have caused confusion.

Prosecutors said Grasman gave a written and oral admission to his role in the crime. They say he used the truck to steal MTA property in order to pay off the IRS.

During the arraignment, the judge said Grasman indicated to police that the incident was all a joke.

The estimated cost to fix everything is more than $2 million.

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