Hamptons Police acknowledged this week that several ATV riders have recently been reported missing. In each case, the riders were last seen illegally riding their recreational motorized vehicles into the Pine Barrens, on the western edge of the Hamptons.
“It’s illegal for them to ride their ATV’s there,” says Hamptons Police Department spokesman Larry Hirsch, “and there are unknown dangers lurking in the unmapped region. At this point, we haven’t sent in search parties for fear they’d go missing as well.”
In addition to hidden sandpits where riders could fall, or swampy areas where they might become mired, Hirsch admits foul play might be involved.
“We know the moonshiners have been upset about ATV riders disturbing their stills, and some of them might have set up booby traps. And then there’s Piney Pete.”
At Hirsch’s mention of Piney Pete, the legendary giant said to wander the Pine Barrens in search of human victims, an audible shudder went through the crowd of reporters. “If Piney Pete’s been woken up by those ATVs,” Hirsch says, “then I think we all know what happened to those riders. If you want to organize a search party, be my guest. The police are staying away.”
Earlier this month, Hamptons Police Department officers launched a crackdown on ATV riders in an attempt to protect antique moonshine stills in the area. At the time, no one had considered the possibility of Piney Pete’s reawakening. Now, Hirsch says, he and his men can think of little else.