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'Red Light Robin Hood' needs driving lessons

An image from a video posted on YouTube

An image from a video posted on YouTube allegedly shows a man tampering with a red-light camera in Ronkonkoma, left. Stephen Ruth, 42, of Centereach, was arrested at his home on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015, on criminal tampering and obstruction of governmental administration charges, police said. Credit: YouTube; SCPD

The man tampering with cameras in Suffolk County is no "Red Light Robin Hood."

Steven Ruth is a Centereach resident who has received 10 tickets generated by cameras for red-light violations since 2010. And according to county officials, videos from the incidents show not all of his tickets were for stopping too briefly before turning right on red, as Ruth has said. Most were for egregious violations, including blowing through red lights and turning right on red from the center lane, the county says.

Ruth is charged with multiple counts of criminal tampering and obstruction because -- as he shows in his own YouTube video -- he has used a long pole to tilt red-light cameras away from traffic. A lot of people hate the cameras, so he's getting support from residents who see him as a fighter against one more irritation of Long Island life.

We get it. People come home from a long day and find in the mailbox -- along with one of the nation's biggest property tax bills and one of the nation's highest utility bills and every other bill imaginable -- a traffic ticket for a violation from a week or two earlier. They don't remember violating any traffic law, and they don't want to pay.

But statistics show these cameras really do prevent fatal and injury-causing accidents. They make us more careful drivers. Do they generate revenue for the counties? Sure, but getting a ticket is optional. If you don't want to pony up, obey the law. That's what Ruth ought to do, rather than blowing red lights, tampering with public property and cloaking his actions in self-righteousness.