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Arrest after NY man admits to vandalizing red light cameras

YAPHANK, N.Y. --A New York man who admitted to CBS New York that he damaged red light cameras throughout Suffolk County has been arrested,the station reports.

Stephen Ruth is charged with two counts of second-degree criminal mischief. On Monday, Ruth told CBS New York he damaged as many as 19 cameras over the weekend by cutting wires.

"I cut the cable wires, making it useless," he said. "I've made it dysfunctional, just like the whole red light camera program."

He did so, "in order to save lives," Ruth added. He claims that he is crusading against a county money grab, reports the station.

Lawmakers in Suffolk County have demanded that the controversial red-light camera program be suspended -- in order to reevaluate whether the program is doing more harm than good.

New data shows that at about half of the intersections with red-light cameras in Suffolk County, accidents with injuries are up, according to CBS New York.

Police also say Ruth cut down a red light camera pole in a nearby hamlet on Jan. 18. Preliminary estimates put the damage at a cost of a minimum of $25,000, they say.

Ruth has previously been arrested for tampering with cameras. In October, he was charged with criminal tampering and obstruction for using an extension rod to push several red light cameras up to the sky, so they could not catch violators.

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