BREAKING NEWS–Oct. 4, 11:15 a.m.: The temperature on an already heated election season has just been raised in Wilton–Republican Town Committee chairman Al Alper is releasing photographs of people he alleges are “vandalizing, mutilating and stealing” campaign signs that promote the Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump.
The photos, taken between Sept. 26 and Oct. 1, show different cars traveling off the roadway onto the grass to strike a Trump sign posted approximately 1-2 feet from the curb. One photo shows two females that appear to have exited their car to approach and handle the sign. The images, which he obtained Monday evening, Oct. 3, were the first of “a steady stream” Alper expects to get from the camera, and he says that he has others images in his possession.
[Editor’s note: we have published the photos, below. On the chance that the two females are juveniles, we have obscured their images, although on the original their faces are hidden and unidentifiable.]
Alper says he put the camera up after approximately 12 signs had been “mutilated or stolen” in two previous incidents, and that he decided to start using cameras “specifically to catch and prosecute vandals.”
Alper plans to provide the photos to the Wilton Police Department and adds that he anticipates the individuals in the photos will be identified and is firm in his intent to see justice through. “I will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law, and seek compensation for loss. Once identified, I will not drop the charges. No apology is going to do any good. This has happened before.”
Standing his moral ground, Alper says he is motivated by strong beliefs. “I will not tolerate destruction of personal property, the trespass of personal property, and the stifling of free speech. It’s un-American and I won’t stand for it.”
He tells GOOD Morning Wilton that he believes malicious political motivation to be behind the alleged incidents.
“Clearly the opposition has demonstrated once again how their value system is beneath being an American–that they would trample on private property, trespassing; that they would vandalize private property, things that don’t belong to them; that they would steal, and that that’s the value system of the opposition. No wonder we’re a majority party in this town,” adding, “the other side has a propensity to do this.”
He has not reached out to anyone on the Wilton Democratic Town Committee, but says that he will.
Alper fears that recent incidents are not going to be the last, given that the RTC is in the early stages of posting campaign signs. “As we start to put them out, more and more people will behave like this. My intention is to catch them and prosecute them.”
While he’s hoping anyone who is found to have vandalized or stolen the signs will be caught, Alper says he’s trying to deter more incidents from happening.
“My goal here is not to arrest some kid or mother or father. My goal is to stop it from happening. If we get the word out, they won’t do it. Because I don’t want to prosecute my neighbor. Hopefully getting this out to the public will stop this from happening. We’ll run our campaign, you run your campaign, have a nice day.”
He notes that he has multiple cameras that will be used on an a rotating basis in several different locations around town, but he declined to say how many cameras or in what locations they will be posted. The location where the photos he released to GOOD Morning Wilton were taken appears to be at the corner of Hunting Ridge Ln. and School Rd., although Alper would not confirm that.
According to Wilton Police Lt. Stephen Brennan, he hasn’t yet seen a case opened on these particular photos, but that in situations like this officers would have several considerations when investigating it: what’s the cost of the item, is it damaged, who owns the item. Depending on what they find, potential charges (of varying degree) may include larceny, criminal mischief, trespassing and vehicular violations.
In addition, police would need to determine whether any voting laws were violated.
Brennan asked that if any members of the public have information to report related to this story, to please contact him or the patrol division at 203.834.6260.