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MTA missing 8 forklifts and 17 big batteries

By Heather Haddon

A band of subcontractors seemed to have made a serious run on the MTA’s supply closet.

A Brooklyn man and two Long Island residents were arrested Tuesday for pilfering eight MTA forklifts and 17 steel-cased batteries weighing a ton each.

The loot, worth tens of thousands of dollars, was trucked out of NYC Transit’s Maspeth mega-warehouse, whereupon the thieves allegedly hawked it at a nearby scrap yard for a fraction of its original cost.

“Now that the arrests were made, (we) intend to pursue any systemic weakness that would allow for this to happen,” said MTA Inspector General Barry Kluger, whose office worked on the five-month investigation in conjunction with the Queens District Attorney’s office and NYC Transit.

Those arrested worked for a private trucking company hired to repair and inspect NYC Transit equipment at its Maspeth storage facility. On three separate occasions last year, the team allegedly loaded up the equipment for off-sight repair on trucks, hauled it away and sold it for a total of $7,812.Transit inspectors noticed the missing goods during an audit last year and reported it to investigators, Kluger said.

The defendants — Bruce Lesniewski, 30; Darrin Pfaff, 42; and Kimberely Edwards, 57 — had not been arraigned by press time. They face six years of jail time if convicted on grand larceny and conspiracy charges.

Lawyers for Edwards and Pfaff said their clients would plead not guilty. An attorney for Lesniewski declined comment.

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