Man busted for damaging red light cameras

Image 1 of 3

A Long Island man who has been dubbed the "Red Light Robin Hood" for fighting red light cameras has been arrested again.

Suffolk County police say that Stephen Ruth cut  wires and manipulated equipment on 18 red light cameras between April 9 and April 10.  He is also accused of cutting down a red light camera pole at County Road 83 and Old Town Road in Coram on January 18.

Preliminary estimates put the damage at a cost of a minimum of $25,000.

Commissioner Gil Anderson with the Department of Public Works says the cameras at 100 intersections are for public safety.

Last year, the county collected more than $25 million in revenue and fees. Anderson claims the cameras can be removed altogether if there are fewer accidents.

Suffolk County Police, in January, said they haven't decided whether the person responsible for damaging the camera that was cut down in that incident would be held accountable for the lost money while it was out of service.

Ruth, 43, is charged with two felony counts of criminal mischief.

This is not his first arrest for tampering with red light cameras.  In August, 2015 he was arrested after posting a video to Facebook showing him using an expandable pole to turn red light cameras on the Long Island Expressway towards the sky so they wouldn't take pictures of license plates.

A post on his Facebook page after that arrest Ruth showed little remorse:

"Of course I knew I would be arrested. I did it for the people who come back from war and get abused by these cameras. I did it because senior citizens are getting these, the same ones that went to war for us. 

Ruth has claimed that Suffolk County is actually breaking state law by adding a $30 fee to the $50 ticket for running a red light.  He says that the statute covering red light cameras limits the financial liability to the vehicle owner at $50.