Suspect arrested in attack of Lakeland Electric lineman

LAKELAND, Fla. - New York officials have made an arrest in connection to the brutal attack of a Lakeland Electric lineman who was helping to restore power in an area of New York ravaged by Superstorm Sandy last week.

Thomas Libretto, 34, is charged with assault in the third degree.

The victim, 34-year-old John Applewhite, was one of 24 people from Lakeland Electric who had been in New York for one week helping to restore power.

According to the East Meadow Police, Applewhite and a fellow lineman were headed into a restaurant when Libretto, driving a BMW, yelled at the two.

Libretto told police he yelled at the lineman because he was urinating in a parking lot outside the Texas Roadhouse.

The driver punched Applewhite in the face and possibly hit him with an object.  He then got back into the car, and left.

The victim ended up with a broken nose, a broken cheek bone and bruising to his left eye. He was transported to the Nassau University Medical Center and was flown back to Lakeland on Saturday, where he was sent to Lakeland Regional.Libretto was processed and released on appearance ticket.

He will make a court appearance on Nov. 27 for his arraignment.

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