A man was arrested on two counts of criminal tampering on Friday after he allegedly placed plastic bags over red light cameras at a busy Smithtown intersection.
The bags went on cameras at the signal at Main Street and Landing Avenue around 5:30 p.m. that day, the Suffolk County Police Department said, and a passing motorist called 911 to report the man who was covering them.
The cameras, set up through a county program, take pictures of vehicles that run through red lights or don’t stop completely before turning right on red, and the license plate numbers captured in the photos are used to generate traffic tickets.
Police used the suspect’s description from the 911 caller on Friday and later located St. James resident Bryan Valentine nearby. The 26-year-old was charged with two counts of second-degree criminal tampering.
Attorney information for Valentine was not immediately available Monday.
The suspect is not the first police have arrested for allegedly tampering with red light cameras. In August, police collared Centereach resident Stephen Ruth, after authorities said he used a pole to reach several red light cameras in Ronkonkoma and turn their lenses away from the road and toward the sky. He was charged with criminal tampering and obstructing governmental administration.
In interviews Ruth has stood behind his actions, and he has received praise from people who oppose the county’s red light camera program and say it is simply a money grab, as the county receives much revenue from the tickets generated.