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Follow the Leader: ‘Lifestyle clothing’ seller leads three other BMX riders to arrests after Splish Splash trespass

BMX rider and Follow the Leader founder Billy Perry Images:Instagram

If you’re going to break the law, it’s probably not a good idea to produce a video documenting your criminal behavior or to share it with millions of people on YouTube.

But that’s what a group of BMX riders, led by a West Islip man who’s built a social media following and a clothing business around his BMX exploits.

Billy Perry, 22, of West Islip, was one of  about eight men who trespassed at the shuttered Splish Splash Water Park in Calverton on Thanksgiving morning to ride their BMX bikes on the water slides and through the park, according to Riverhead police.

Perry wore a video camera throughout the escapade, recorded their activity as they drove to the park, climbed over a barbed wire fence to gain entry to the complex and rode their bikes on various water slides in what he described on the video as “the most savage session” they’d had “in a long time.”

After the men were spotted and chased away by a water park employee, Perry, having made what he thought was a safe escape, declared, “We didn’t get caught,” as he pedaled back to his car.

The 14-minute video Perry published on YouTube Nov. 27 went viral, attracting more than 6.4 million views.

Unfortunately for Perry and his friends, among the video’s viewers were Riverhead Police investigators, who yesterday arrested Perry and Brian Chliek, 34, of Bayport, Jonathan Nemecek, 25, and Anthony Panza, 19, both of Lindenhurst.

“We talked about sneaking in and riding this water park for years,” Perry wrote on YouTube, where his channel has over 384,000 subscribers. “The day was absolutely insane and then we got spotted by Security,” he wrote.

Perry also posted clips from the video on Instagram and Facebook.

This is not the first time Perry and at least one of the other men arrested yesterday got in trouble with the law for trespassing on their BMX rides. This past summer, Perry and Panza were issued trespass summonses in NYC and made a video as they went to court in lower Manhattan, where Perry said afterward they were fined $25 each. A third rider had his ticket “thrown out,” Perry told the camera.

Perry is also an entrepreneur. He is the founder and owner of Follow the Leader, “a BMX based, lifestyle clothing company” selling “quality street apparel and accessories,” according to the company’s Facebook page.

Perry has posted 124 BMX videos to his YouTube channel since he launched it in October 2011. The Splish Splash “adventure” video is by far his most successful to date.

Riverhead Police said an investigation by the Riverhead COPE unit remains ongoing. They ask anyone with information to call 631-727-4500.

Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter and editor, an attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including a “writer of the year” award from the N.Y. Press Association in 2015. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website. Email Denise.