MTA Long Island Rail Road President Helena Williams said today after the arrest of 15 LIRR employees that the Railroad is taking immediate action to tighten security to prevent the future theft of materials, including increased video surveillance of yards and shops where scrap metal is stored and more secure storage bins across our property.
"The LIRR and MTA Inspector General Barry Kluger first became aware of possible wrongdoing by certain employees last year and immediately took action that led to today's arrests," Williams said at a press conference in which Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice outlined the case against a total of 17 defendants accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of copper wire from the Railroad. "We have been cooperating fully with the District Attorney Kathleen Rice during the investigation."
Williams said that the employees charged in the case have been suspended without pay. If they are convicted, she said the LIRR fire them and move to terminate their pensions.
Williams added: "I want to thank the District Attorney Rice for her diligence in pursuing this case so vigorously and driving home the message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated at a taxpayer-supported agency like the Long Island Rail Road. The majority of our 6,500 employees take great pride in working for the LIRR and they would never jeopardize their positions by engaging in the behavior that is alleged in this indictment. In fact, as we saw after Superstorm Sandy, our workforce is dedicated to providing safe, reliable transportation for Long Islanders."
Now that the District Attorney's investigation has culminated in arrests, Williams said the Railroad can move forward with a security plan developed with the assistance of Inspector General Barry Kluger to tighten up its procedures for handling scrap metal and other actions in an effort to prevent this type of activity from occurring in the future.
Specifically, she said, the Long Island Rail Road will take the following steps.
- SECURE BINS – Currently, scrap is stored in open bins at various yards across the LIRR.The Railroad is in the process of procuring large, enclosed bins for scrap storage.
- INCREASE VIDEO SURVEILENCE – An internal security assessment is underway at the 12 yards where scrap metal is stored to determine where additional video surveillance cameras should be placed.
- RESTRICT EMPLOYEE PARKING – The LIRR will restrict employee parking near the storage bins.
- ADOPT NEW INTERNAL CONTROLS – New procedures have been adopted to better track every piece of new and used valuable metals that moves through LIRR shops and yards. High level managers will be responsible for insuring material is accounted for.
- VEHICLE TRACKING – The current GPS-based vehicle tracking system in place proved helpful during the investigation as some employees used company vehicles to facilitate these alleged thefts. We will continue to use that system to do random audits of vehicle usage to detect any deviations. If people are driving places that are not connected with a job site, we will pick that up.