Suffolk police are trying to determine who pointed a green laser light from a Centereach home at a police helicopter as it flew early Thursday, Police Commissioner Timothy Sini said.
The light came from a home in which Stephen Ruth Jr. is a registered resident, Sini said at a news conference Thursday about MS-13 gang arrests in Brentwood. Ruth is a real estate salesman who fashioned himself into Suffolk County’s “Red Light Robin Hood,” acknowledging that he cut wires in red light cameras in April 2016 in 17 locations so that they wouldn’t work. He pleaded guilty to a felony charge of criminal mischief in February 2017.
Attempts to reach Ruth for comment Thursday were unsuccessful.
Sini said police used technology and “good old-fashioned police work” to determine the light came from that house, on Stewart Circle in Centereach. Sini did not say if police had been in contact with Ruth, but said investigators spoke to people at the house and they were “not cooperative.”
The Federal Aviation Administration is also investigating, the agency said in a statement.
The incident occurred about 12:50 a.m. as the helicopter was searching for a missing teenager, police said.
“It’s incredibly dangerous,” Sini said. “ . . . These lasers are extremely bright, and when it catches your eye, you literally can’t see anything out of that eye.”
Anyone with information about the laser attack is being asked to call Sixth Squad detectives at 631-854-8652 or Crime Stoppers at 800-220-8477. All calls will remain confidential.