A plea for security at the Brookhaven Ecology site
After the recent Brookhaven Ecology Center break-in resulting in the theft of a wolf, Holtsville resident Wayne Carrington, volunteer and Holtsville Hal Groundhog Day event creator, is pleading for the installation of security cameras.
The 7-year-old wolf named Nakita was stolen from the preserve located at 249 Buckley Road in Holtsville sometime during the night of June 24-25. According to Suffolk County Police detectives, there has been no update in the case and the investigation is continuing.
Carrington said this was not the first or last time the center had been broken into. Earlier this year, he said, the building itself was broken into and recently, someone had let mustangs loose in the preserve. However, due to the lack of security cameras at the site, Carrington said a description of the intruder or intruders cannot be established.
Town of Brookhaven highway superintendent Dan Losquadro confirmed that mustangs had been recently released from their pens by an unknown intruder and shared his concern for the safety of the animals.
“It’s really a wonderful facility created a long time ago to take in injured and non-releasable animals. That’s why it makes what happened even more concerning,” he said, stating that the town has been working with police.
Since the wolf was stolen, Losquadro said temporary cameras had been installed and a public safety officer was instructed to patrol the grounds throughout the night. Still, the mustang incident occurred, further pushing the need for permanent and multiple cameras.
“The center has a lot of nooks and crannies, so to speak,” said Losquadro, explaining the need for more than usual cameras at the site, totaling approximately $40,000 from the town’s general fund budget, so as not to affect taxpayers.
Those cameras, he promised, would be installed sometime this year, in addition to cameras to be installed at the pools and surrounding property. The cameras, he explained, will be fully functional security cameras able to wirelessly monitor, record, tilt and pan. The contract, he said, will be drawn from an existing one allowing for them to be immediately installed rather than go out to BID.
“The town board and supervisor have been extremely supportive to make this happen,” said Losquadro. “In the meantime we have done everything we can to make sure there is adequate coverage. We would love nothing more than to catch the person or persons responsible for these two acts, but at this point it’s obviously our goal to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.”
The preserve is located on a reclaimed landfill created in 1974 by the Town of Brookhaven highway department and now includes a triple pool complex, exercise trail, nature preserve and ecology center featuring buffalo, bobcats, eagles, bears and more.
The park, which was destined to close about five years ago, Carrington fears might meet the same fate if security measures aren’t put in place. He also fears the safety of the animals, of which about 100 currently live in the preserve.
“These animals need to be protected,” he said. “Are we waiting for an animal to get out or a person to get hurt?”
If cameras are still not installed, Carrington said he will do what it takes to raise the funds himself for the security of the park.
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