Illegal dumping of 24-foot boat on Long Island leads to man's arrest: Police

A man has been charged with illegal dumping after police say he abandoned his boat in the middle of the Long Island Pine Barrens. 

"There are plenty of ways to get around it. Unfortunately, he chose the wrong one," said Chris Brockmeyer who is the Suffolk County Chief Deputy Sheriff.

The 24-foot boat was found last month by the Suffolk County Sheriff’s office in a secluded spot in Manorville. The area is part of the more than 100 acres of woodlands known as Long Island Central Pine Barrens.

Dumping poses a danger because beneath the barrens is an aquifer containing the island’s drinking water.

"Anything that gets deposited that can leech into the ground through layers of soil, can affect our groundwater for future generations," said Chief Enforcement Officer Frank Carbone with the Pine Barrens Commission.

Prosecutors say 35-year-old Timothy Hughes is responsible and faces illegal dumping charges. Officials hope increased security will stop anyone else thinking about breaking the law. 

"The town has made an investment of tens of thousands of dollars for cameras that would not only have night vision but read plates," said Dan Panico, supervisor for the Town of Brookhaven.

Brookhaven Town residents can get rid of up to 500 pounds of material and trash, free of charge on Saturdays at the landfill. That was a better option, according to officials who say the defendant now faces several thousand dollars in fines.

"This man could’ve found an easy way to dispose of the boat, but he couldn’t be bothered," said Suffolk Sheriff Errol Toulon Jr.

To decrease dumping, Town of Brookhaven officials recently increased penalties. First-time offenders may be forced to pay as much as $10,000 with additional fines owed in Suffolk County.

"The district attorney’s office cares so much we're going to seek the maximum fines and forfeiture for anything you use to dump," said Assistant District Attorney Jed Painter.

The plan is to double the number of cameras from 20 to 40 by the end of the year with a goal of compliance and a cleaner County.