Arrest Made in Fla. Utility Worker Assault on LI

Nassau County police have apprehended a Levittown man wanted for assaulting an out-of-state utility worker who was on Long Island assisting in post-Hurricane Sandy restoration efforts.

Thomas Libretto was arrested at his home Tuesday, four days after the Florida utility worker, John Applewhite, was hospitalized with a broken jaw and cheekbone. Both men are 34.

Libretto was charged with assault and will be arraigned later this month.


Applewhite, a lineman with Lakeland Electric, was outside Texas Roadhouse in East Meadow after finishing a shift with co-workers on Friday night when a man started yelling at them, he told The Lakeland Ledger.

Applewhite was caught off guard because he thought the man was just “asking about his power.”

The angry utility customer punched the Florida lineman in the face and then fled in his BMW, police said.

Applewhite was taken to Nassau University Medical Center and was later transferred to a hospital in Tampa, Fla., according to reports.

“There is always a bad apple,” Applewhite told the newspaper. “For the most part, these people were great and they really treated us with respect.”

Nassau police issued a press release last week about a man being punched in the face but didn’t identify Applewhite, mention his job or say what precipitated the attack.

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