Officials with the Department of Environmental Conservation say they caught seven different individuals, including a Sound Beach man, illegally off-roading over the weekend on preserved and private land in western Suffolk County.
According to the DEC, the incidents occurred on the 813-acre Oak Brush Plains State Preserve, which bisects the town borders of Huntington, Islip and Babylon and is open to residents with an access permit. Environmental conversation officers said they had been tipped off to illegal use of the lands previous to the Jan. 12-13 special enforcement assignment.
Some of the riders had also been illegally driving on the privately-owned Heartland Industrial Park Complex, which abuts Oak Brush Plains, according to authorities.
“Illegal off-roading on unsuitable properties not only damages valuable natural resources and important wildlife habitat, but can put other individuals legally utilizing the property in harm’s way,” said DEC Forest Ranger Capt. Tim Byrnes.
DEC officials said Sound Beach resident Benjamin Karen was charged with operating a motor vehicle off-road on private property, a violation that comes with a fine of $250 to $700 for first-time offenders.
Lindenhurst residents Robert McCormick, 37; Adam Sivon, 34; and Joseph Vallianos, 26 were also all charged with operating a motor vehicle off-road on private property.
Deer Park resident Nicholas Ferraro, 38, was charged with operating an ATV on private property.
Also ticketed were Islip resident Joseph Bauer, 20, and Alec Longo, 19, of Smithtown. The two were charged with operating an unauthorized motor vehicle on state land, operating an ATV on private land, trespassing, uninsured motor vehicle, and unregistered motor vehicle.
All tickets are returnable to Suffolk County First District Court in Central Islip on Feb. 6.