Fifteen Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) communications workers, who specialize in the installation of fiber optics and telephone systems, are facing criminal charges for allegedly stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars of copper wire from their employer.
On Friday, January 18, the LIRR employees implicated in the copper theft surrendered to authorities and were consequently removed from service on the following Tuesday. These allegations, and the charges to follow, are the culmination of a more than two-year investigation into the thefts.
“As the President of the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, I am greatly disturbed by the news of these alleged thefts. Our members are highly-skilled, hardworking individuals, and these allegations are certainly not indicative of Long Island Rail Road employees or the Brotherhood or Railroad Signalmen as a whole. I consider this type of behavior abhorrent, and I certainly do not condone the actions of those engaged in acts of thievery,” stated BRS President, W. Dan Pickett.
The communications workers allegedly removed new and used copper wire from LIRR job sites and facilities. Some reports place the value of the copper materials at over $200,000, with some of these thefts dating back to 2010.
“Although the news of these alleged thefts are disturbing and disheartening, I am left to wonder what the motivation was to wait until 2013 to levy charges for thefts that allegedly began in 2010.” — W. Dan Pickett.
The price of copper is surging, up from a little more than $1 a pound four years ago to more than $3.50 per pound today.