Ronald Derisi, 67, Allegedly Caused $100,000 Worth Of Damage

SMITHTOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island man so frustrated with a cell phone tower, allegedly took action and, as a result, ended up in jail.

At a gated community of townhouses in Smithtown, a cell tower has sprouted just a stone’s throw away. And a resident of one of the townhouses closest to the tower has been arrested for cutting the tower’s cables.

Ronald Derisi, 67, was picked up on two felony counts of tampering and criminal mischief. Someone slammed the door when CBS 2’s John Slattery went to the front of his house Friday to get a comment.

According to police, the damage was extensive: 12 feeder cables cut.

The cables, which are two to three inches in diameter, ran from a ground panel up the 210-foot tower, which was still being constructed next to an existing tower. The damage Derisi allegedly caused was estimated at $100,000.

A spokesman for Smithtown said the cell site, leased to Metro PCS, was necessary for public safety. The project was advertised. There was a public hearing and the town board voted unanimously.

Yet, there is clearly opposition from residents.

“I’m not happy. I’m not happy,” said townhouse resident Janet Berry, who added she would not have cut the cables.

But on Thanksgiving Day, Derisi wrote an e-mail to the town supervisor saying: “How did you manage to have a cell site tower installed overlooking our community that will shower us with RF radiation 24 hours a day? Not to mention how our home values will plummet. This needs to stop now.”

It was during that long weekend that the cables were cut, and a town source said video surveillance recorded the destructive deed, and that led police to Derisi.

What’s incredible is that someone might think that vandalism of this sort would put an end to local cell service.

Derisi was issued summonses, and will be arraigned at a later date.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

Comments (6)
  1. Jimi says:

    On the up side he won’t have to worry about the view of cell towers from the cell he ends up in. Cameras at the cell site? Who would have thunk it?

  2. Ralph says:

    This article was News until the reporter’s closing comment: “What’s incredible is that someone might think that vandalism of this sort would put an end to local cell service.” At that point, it ceases to be News and instead becomes just another opinion piece. That reporter should be docked a day’s pay for that nonsense; his personal opinion has no place in the reporting of the incident.

  3. Sid says:

    Forget about all of this other BS stated in the earlier comments. Well I live in Smithtown and for time the cables were cut I have had my service hampered by dropped calls in and around 500 feet of where I live. I use my phone for my job in which now I have to keep a closer look at my e-mail so I won’t loose any jobs that I perform. The problems that were stated earlier on this Cable Guy were stupid and had nothing to do with the actions and the problems associated with his actions. The comments are of the personal views of people talking on their cell phones in an inconsiderate manor. Wake up and know how to post a comment about the issue in the article. This action affects me personally.

  4. Ronnie Mund says:

    How about climbing up to the tower and getting topless? T-O-P-L-E-S-S. No problem with that?

  5. None Of Your Business says:

    One of the worst things I have ever been subjected to while in line at a store or a bank or on a city bus is having to listen to a moron on his/her cellphone trying desperately to have a “power conversation” when he/she has absolutely nothing to talk about. Why on earth did cellphones have to be invented?

  6. Mikey says:

    If cutting those cell tower cables means that fewer people will be walking, driving, waiting on line and, generally, annoying the daylights out of the intelligent, thinking courteous community with their cellphone chatter then good for him. And just imagine, less texting while driving and fewer glassy thousand yard stares as people’s thumbs, not their brains, do their thinking. This guy may become a national hero!

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