Stephen Ruth, a self-styled "Red Light Robin Hood," pleaded not guilty to 17 charges of disabling red light cameras in Suffolk County, New York. If convicted, he could serve up to seven years in prison. Ruth uses a painter's extension rod to tilt cameras to face the sky, and also snips the cameras' power wires. He said he does it because the county recently reduced yellow-light times from 5 to 3 seconds to increase revenue generated by fines, and that the time change has increased the number of accidents.
"They call it a crime. I call it saving lives," [Ruth] told the affiliate. "I never hid from my actions. I believe in what I'm doing, and I'm only trying to save lives."
A Suffolk County study concluded in April that about half the intersections with red-light cameras have seen an uptick in accidents following the installation of cameras in 2010, while other intersections saw a drop.