Three Long Island Rail Road employees face charges of stealing thousands of dollars of copper belonging to the railroad and then “scrapping” it for profit, officials said.
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said the three men, who were employed by the LIRR’s communications department in Huntington, stole wire cable containing copper that was property of the LIRR between Feb. 15, 2011 and April 15, 2011, and between November and December 2012.
A joint investigation with the Nassau DA’s office, MTA Inspector General and the MTA Police found that the three men stole steal copper wire from right of ways, including locations in Nassau and often while on duty, and transported the wire via LIRR trucks to their own personal vehicles, authorities said. From there, they sold the stolen wire for scrap, using their driver’s licenses to carry out the sale of stolen material, and then divided the proceeds among themselves and others on their work crew.
The three men – Robert Nowlin, also known as Darryl Nowlin, 48, of Brentwood; Paul Holm, 47, of Holtsville, and Joel Quiles, 38, of Wheatley Heights – surrendered to Nassau County District Attorney and MTA authorities and were arraigned Friday.
Nowlin was charged with third-degree grand larceny, third-degree criminal possession of stolen property, fourth-degree grand larceny, and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property. If convicted of the top charge, he faces up to two-and-one-third to seven years in prison. Bail was set at $20,000 cash or bond.
Holm and Quiles were each charged with fourth-degree grand larceny and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Bail was set for each of them at $10,000 cash or bond. If convicted of the top charge, the two men each face up to one-and-one-third to four years in prison.
“Stealing material that belongs to the public is not only a violation of the public’s trust, but an act of stealing from, in this case, every rider on the Long Island Rail Road,” Rice said, in a statement.
The three men were suspended without pay by the LIRR.
They remained quiet through Friday’s court proceeding, but their attorneys entered not-guilty pleas, Newsday reported.
"My client adamantly denies guilt in this matter," James D'Angelo of Central Islip, who represents Holm, told Newsday.
An earlier investigation into other LIRR employees stealing wire cable containing copper resulted in the indictment of 15 Long Island Rail Road employees and two others in January after conspiring to steal more than $250,000 worth of copper wire belonging to the LIRR, according to Rice.
Nowlin, Holm and Quiles are due back in court on March 25.