A Suffolk County man will serve one year in prison for stealing copper wire from the Long Island Rail Road, according to the Nassau County District Attorney's Office.
Eric Axelson, 52, of East Patchogue, was sentenced by Judge Angelo Delligatti to one year behind bars in addition to the $20,000 restitution he already paid. Axelson pleaded guilty in August to two counts of fifth-degree conspiracy.
Axelson was one of 15 people nabbed in 2013 for swiping more than $250,000 worth of copper wire while working for LIRR. Most of those cases are still pending.
Between January 1, 2010 and Jan. 10, 2013, the group reportedly stole wiring, needed for signal communications and electrical transmission, from scrap bins in Nassau, Suffolk, Queens, and Brooklyn.
The ring then moved the stolen wiring to Two Brother's Scrap Metal in Farmingdale where they sold it for a total profit of $253,694, the DA said. They used a non-employee's drivers license in the transactions.
An MTA investigation led authorities to charge the employees in January 2013 in a sting called "Operation: Heavy Metal."
"This employee not only stole from his employer, but from taxpayers and paying customers as well," said NCDA Kathleen Rice. "Riders who rely on train service to get to work, home, and school deserve far better from employees paid to serve them."
"The LIRR does not tolerate employees who steal from their employer and from the taxpayers who support our operation," added LIRR President Helena Williams. "We are grateful to the MTA Inspector General's Office and the Nassau District Attorney's Office for vigorously pursuing these cases."