SAG HARBOR, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Police on Long Island are trying to find whoever is responsible for setting up dangerous traps, apparently targeting people on dirt bikes and ATVs.
Police say someone is tying hunter green parachute cords to trees across the nature trails in Sag Harbor.
The cords are hard to spot.
One nearly decapitated 17-year-old James Edler.
"I got knocked off the back of my quad, lost my helmet and stuff, went unconscious," Edler told CBS2's Jennifer McLogan on Wednesday.
Edler was riding his ATV illegally on a nature trail behind his home on his way to meet friends. Police surmise the noise and worry of environmental destruction prompted someone to commit the criminal act.
"Who is intentionally putting up a booby trap to hurt somebody," Southampton Police Det. Lt. James Kiernan said.
Someone tied the camouflaged rope from tree to tree in multiple locations. Edler said when he came to his senses he was delirious from being clotheslined. His cellphone was near his toppled ATV.
"My phone flew out of my pocket. So I just said, 'Hey Siri, call mom.' And it actually worked," Edler said.
"Super upsetting, disturbing. We were very scared. With the COVID we were not allowed in the helicopter with him," Tina Edler said.
James Edler was medivacked to Stony Brook University Hospital.
"Probably could have died, broke my neck," he said.
Police have received numerous complaints across the East End that teens are riding where they should not.
"Someone just got really upset about us riding and decided to take matters into their own hands, to try to stop us," James Edler said.
"So we've had to do more enforcement. We've impounded more than a dozen motorbikes and ATVs," Kiernan said.
Edler's mom and dad said it's fair play for someone to report trail riders to the police or even follow them home to confront the parents, but it's not okay to set a trap that could maim or even kill.
"All of a sudden the rope was like right there and I didn't see it until it was actually hitting my throat," James Edler said.
Suffolk County Crime Stoppers are offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest. You can submit an anonymous tip by calling 1-800-220-TIPS, or submit a tip online by CLICKING HERE. All calls and emails will be kept confidential.
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