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‘Red-Light Robin Hood’ Stephen Ruth eyes run for State Senate

A smiling Stephen Ruth Jr. leaves the courtroom

A smiling Stephen Ruth Jr. leaves the courtroom of Supreme Court Justice John Collins with his attorney, Joseph Ferrante of Hauppaauge, after his arraignment on Friday, June 3, 2016, at Riverhead Criminal Court. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

A Centereach man who has led a one-man crusade against Suffolk County’s red-light cameras, and faces criminal charges for disabling the devices at more than a dozen intersections, is collecting signatures to run against State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport).

Stephen Ruth, coined the “Red-Light Robin Hood,” said Wednesday he wants to run on the Libertarian line in the November election for State Senate in the Second District. He must collect 3,000 valid signatures by Aug. 23.

“I am tired of all the corruption,” said Ruth. “There are no real candidates looking out for the people.”

Ruth, who has never run for office, wants to extend the length of yellow traffic lights and ultimately end Suffolk’s red-light camera program.

Flanagan has represented the district since 2002 and will face Democrat Peter Magistrale, an accountant from St. James.

“Senator Flanagan is running on his record and what he has been able to achieve for the residents of the 2nd Senate District and the people of this state,” said spokesman Scott Reif.

Suffolk Libertarian Party Chairman Michael McDermott called Ruth “passionate” and said his candidacy “has a chance.”

Ruth was arrested in August for tampering with several red-light cameras in Ronkonkoma. Ruth, who has admitted to the tampering and posted a how-to video on YouTube, was charged with third-degree criminal tampering and obstruction of governmental administration, both misdemeanors.

He was arrested again in April and charged with 19 counts of second-degree criminal mischief, a felony, for damaging red-light camera poles in Brookhaven and Coram.

Ruth, who pleaded not guilty, faces up to 7 years in prison.


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