A Florida man working in our area to restore power after Hurricane Sandy was beaten up while attempting to take a dinner break with a coworker.

UPDATE: An arrest has been made on Long Island for the beating of an out-of-state utility worker. 34-year-old Thomas Libretto was charged with third-degree assault for punching John Applewhite of Lakeland, Florida. He is scheduled to be arraigned on November 27.

Thomas Libretto arrested for assaulting utility worker
Nassau County Police Department

As with many things, it appears there is more to this story than originally thought. WABC-TV reports:

Detectives have determined the victim, 34-year-old John Applewhite, was urinating on his own utility truck in the parking lot of the Texas Roadhouse restaurant on Hempstead Turnpike in East Meadow last Friday.

Authorities say Libretto was walking past him and became offended because he with his girlfriend. Words were exchanged between the two, and the dispute turned physical.

Detectives do not believe Applewhite's employment played any role in the dispute.'

Doesn't make the assault any better, but at least I don't have to believe people are downright crazy.


34-year-old John Applewhite of Lakeland, Florida traveled to Long Island with coworkers to help LIPA restore power to its customers.

According to WABC-TV, after working a 16-hour shift, Applewhite and a coworker locked up their company vehicle, and were walking into a restaurant when an unknown man yelled for their attention from a black BMW.

As Applewhite and his coworker walked over to the car, the man walked up to them and punched Applewhite in the face. He wound up in the hospital with a broken jaw, broken nose, cracked cheekbone and swollen black eye. (That's one heck of a punch...)

When his co-worker tried to subdue the suspect, he bit his finger and escaped. They were unable to get a good description of the man or his license plate number because the area was so dark.

Um...what the fig?

These people are coming up here, leaving their families, and busting their booties ALL DAY in the cold, in the rain, in the snow, and now they have to worry about winding up in the hospital too?

What is wrong with people? I noticed on day three without power that people were becoming agitated over the lack of electricity.

I understand that two weeks in, tempers are flaring, but can we all agree that's no reason for any of us to act like savages?

I'm so grateful this didn't happen in Jersey, because that's NOT what we need right now.

I hope they catch the guy and throw him in jail...and perhaps get him medicated.

And to the attacker: Have a little perspective, dude. You may be in the cold and the dark, but people around you have NOTHING. Perhaps trade in that BMW for a heart, and think about things before you attack someone who is trying to help.


What's the proper punishment for something like this? Share your comments below!