Joel Grasman, 54, struck multiple telephone poles, traffic signals, wires and trees while driving stolen vehicle
MINEOLA, N.Y. – Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that an Elmont man was sentenced today for causing a mile-long path of destruction stretching from Elmont to Valley Stream by driving a stolen truck with an exterior boom extended in August 2013.
Joel Grasman, 54, pleaded guilty in April 2014 to Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the 2nd Degree (a C felony), Criminal Mischief in the 4th Degree (an A misdemeanor), and Criminal Tampering in the 2nd Degree (an A misdemeanor).
Grasman, who had spent seven months in prison, was sentenced by Acting Supreme Court Justice Helene Gugerty to time served, five years of probation, a $1,000 fine and required to pay restitution in the amount of $1,001,319.98, on the top charge. If the restitution is not paid by the end of today it will be placed into civil judgment.
The defendant was sentenced to three years of probation on the remaining two charges, to run concurrent with the first count.
The Office of District Attorney recommended an indeterminate sentence of 2 years to 6 years of incarceration and restitution for the victims.
“The defendant caused a tremendous amount of destruction in a short period of time and thousands of families were impacted by his actions,” said Acting DA Singas. “By stealing the truck and knocking down so many power lines, the defendant inconvenienced thousands of Long Islanders – including seniors and the infirm – who need electricity in their homes.”
Acting DA Singas said that Grasman went to an MTA facility in Richmond Hill where he worked and loaded a Mack “boom” truck with multiple pieces of welding equipment at 1 a.m. on Aug. 27, 2013. After unloading the equipment at a residence in Elmont, Grasman attempted to drive the truck with the boom in the extended and upright position, striking multiple telephone poles, traffic signal lights, utility wires and trees.
Grasman caused interruptions to LIPA, Verizon and Optimum services and more than $1,000,000 worth of damage to utility lines, homes and cars. He was arrested later that day by the Nassau County Police Department after leaving the vehicle on the entrance ramp of the Southern State Parkway at Exit 15 in Valley Stream.
Assistant District Attorney Michael Puma of Acting DA Singas’ County Court Bureau is prosecuting the case. Grasman is represented by Peter Menoudakos, Jr., Esq.