A man in New York who apparently had enough of red light cameras doling out tickets to himself and fellow drivers was arrested after he posted videos instructing viewers on how to disable the cameras. Stephen Ruth filmed himself on a cellphone with a selfie stick using a painter’s pole to knock the cameras so that their lenses uselessly faced skyward. He claims in the video that this act saved New York taxpayers $10,000 a day.
Ruth used this tactic on four cameras in Suffolk County, Pix11 reported, most near the Long Island Expressway and another near Ocean Avenue. He posted videos of his tampering on August 21 and 23. At the time of writing one of the videos has just fewer than 240,000 views.
“I’m going to show you how easy it is to take the power back,” Ruth tells viewers of the video, but it wasn’t as easy and risk-free as Ruth made it appear. A few days later, Ruth’s videos caught the attention of local law enforcement and he ended up in police custody. He was arrested and charged with four counts of criminal tampering.
Plenty of people might be interested in Ruth’s how-to videos. Over the past three years, red-light cameras have fallen out of favor in America. More than 70 municipalities have stopped using such cameras, according to figures from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The number of communities using them peaked at 540 in October 2012.
Today, the number stands at 461. Cameras have faced legislative and judicial challenges in several states, including Ohio, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Florida. Cameras have been found to malfunction and there have been allegations that municipalities sometimes illegally shorten red lights to shore up funds. One county on Long Island forgave $2.4 million in speed camera tickets due to a glitch.