Couple Allegedly Discarded Cinder Blocks and Concrete, then Taunted a Bystander who Tried to Intervene
Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney held a press conference on May 24 in front of a protected wetland in Mastic Beach to announce the arrest of a couple from Holbrook who allegedly threw out concrete and cinder blocks near the environmentally fragile property.
Fabio Monasterolo, 51, and his wife, Judith Monasterolo, 55, are accused of unlawfully disposing of these materials in the Town of Brookhaven near tidal wetlands.
“Using our precious wetlands as a personal junkyard is as selfish as it is destructive,” Tierney said. “This flagrant abuse of our delicate ecosystem is a crime against our wildlife and every law-abiding taxpayer who supports these public lands.”
On April 23, at approximately 2:03 p.m., the Monasterolos were observed allegedly illegally dumping solid waste, which included broken chunks of concrete and cinder blocks, from their black Dodge Ram pick-up truck, into the wetlands adjacent to the intersection of Jefferson Drive and Grove Road in Mastic Beach. That intersection and the surrounding areas are owned by the Town of Brookhaven and abut a tidal wetland. When a witness saw what the couple was doing, she began taking several photographs of the couple and the waste that they had dumped. Judith Monasterolo, who was in the passenger seat of the Dodge Ram, allegedly flashed an obscene gesture at the witness as Fabio Monasterolo drove them away from the scene.
Pursuant to the District Attorney’s Quality-of-Life Town Coalition initiative, Brookhaven Town officials contacted the DA’s Office and provided photographic evidence and information regarding the crime. Detectives from the DA’s Biological, Environmental, and Animal Safety Team (BEAST) immediately began an investigation. The defendants were subsequently arrested on May 1. The Town of Brookhaven initiated the remediation of the protected site.
“Illegal dumping in our wetlands is a crime in the Town of Brookhaven that we take very seriously. Those who commit these crimes will be caught, charged and prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” said Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine. “I commend the brave actions of the resident who took it upon themselves to photograph and report this activity to the Suffolk County police. Together, we are committed to protecting our environment and we will not tolerate illegal dumping happening anywhere in the Town.”
Officers from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s police officers and investigators also assisted with the efforts. The state’s DEC commissioner, Basil Seggos, called the efforts from all levels of law enforcement “a prime example of how joint cooperation between state and local law enforcement agencies can hold polluters accountable,” and said his agency “does not tolerate illegal dumping of any kind particularly in Long Island’s ecologically important wetland areas.”
The Monasterolos were arraigned on May 23 on charges of third-degree criminal mischief, a Class E felony, and multiple related Environmental Conservation violations. Under current New York State law, the offenses charged are not considered bail-eligible, so the couple was released on their own recognizance. They are due back in court on June 13.