Police arrested a Centereach man on Tuesday afternoon who they say used a pole to turn red light cameras away from the road and potential violators.
According to the Suffolk County Police Department, the suspect used an expandable pole to tamper with the cameras, pushing the lenses toward the sky. Officers from the SCPD’s 6th Precinct Crime Section received anonymous tips regarding a video post on social media that allegedly shows 42-year-old Stephen Ruth tampering with several of the cameras in Ronkonkoma, including one on Ocean Avenue at the Long Island Expressway’s south service road on both Aug. 21 and Aug. 24. Shortly before being arrested on Tuesday afternoon, he also allegedly tampered with two other cameras on that same service road, at the intersection with Hawkins Avenue.
After an investigation, officers arrested Ruth at his home on Stewart Circle.
He was charged with four counts of third-degree criminal tampering and four counts of second-degree obstruction of governmental administration.
Attorney information for Ruth was not immediately available on Wednesday.
The red light cameras, which are maintained by Baltimore-based Affiliated Computer Services Incorporated, take photographs at busy intersections throughout Suffolk County, recording license plates of vehicles whose drivers run through a red light or do not come to a complete stop before making a right turn on a red signal. The company reviews the photos snapped — and gets final approval from the county — and for each confirmed violation, the registered owner of the vehicle receives a $50 traffic citation.
Suffolk’s red light camera program began in summer 2010, and signs alert approaching drivers at every intersection where there is a camera.
Unlike other moving violations, red light camera violations do not add points to a driver’s license, as the cameras only record rear license plates and cannot confirm the driver of a violating vehicle.