• Arrest made after Lakeland man beaten in NY while helping restore power lost by Hurricane Sandy


    NEW YORK - Authorities have arrested a man accused of beating a Lakeland man who was in New York to help get the power back on after Hurricane Sandy.

    Police said Thomas Libretto got out of his BMW and punched John Applewhite, 34, in the face on Friday.

    Applewhite said he suffered a black eye, a broken jaw and several small fractures after he was attacked in the parking lot of a restaurant in East Meadow, N.Y.

    Applewhite said he had just finished working a 13-hour day and was going to get dinner with the rest of his crew when he stepped out of his utility truck and was attacked by a resident.

    "I didn't know what his intentions were. I didn't know if I was going to be robbed or he was just upset.  He was in a nice car, so I kind of let my guard down.  It's unfortunate, it really is," Applewhite said.

    Police reviewed surveillance video from the surrounding businesses and were able to identify Libretto as a suspect.

    Officials said Libretto faces third-degree assault charges.

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