Wilton Police are continuing to look into Republican Town Committee chairman Al Alper‘s complaints about vandalized election signs. They’re trying to identify the individuals in the photos which appear to show the signs being damaged. Alper released the images earlier this week that were taken by a spy cam placed near a sign supporting Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Police are also trying to determine if any laws were violated when the camera was mounted to take the photos in the first place.
Public information officer Lt. Stephen Brennan said the case has been given to Wilton’s school resource officer Rich Ross. “Officer Ross is handling it because it primarily dealt with minors.” Brennan confirmed that one 17-year-old and his father did reach out to Alper to take responsibility for one of the vandalism incidents, and that Alper has told police he doesn’t want to pursue the matter further with this particular juvenile. “[Alper] stated at the time he doesn’t wish to file criminal charges.”
But that doesn’t mean the investigation is closed.
“We are still looking into it. We’d like to obtain the identification and identity of the two females, and at a minimum educate them and explain to their parents, educate them as well, that they were observed and make it more of a public service and awareness. But if [Alper] does wish to pursue it criminally, we will entertain that,” Brennan said.
From the photos captured by the camera and released to GOOD Morning Wilton, there appear to be at least two additional, separate incidents, which Brennan says the department continues to investigate.
“We’re looking into everything that is coming in to us, and we’re going to move forward from there.”
Releasing the photos may have had one unintended consequence for Alper, however. Police are considering the question of whether any laws were broken when the camera was placed at that intersection (School Rd. and Hunting Ridge Ln.), where the election sign in question is planted. The only nearby structure on which to mount a camera with an unobstructed view is likely an Eversource utility pole.
“Connecticut law is very clear…it is illegal to attach anything to a utility pole,” Eversource spokesman Mitch Gross told GMW. He cited CT General Statute 23-65(a), which states that anyone found guilty of violating the statue could be fined no more than $50.
As of Wednesday morning (Oct. 5) there was no camera attached to the utility pole. One resident of Hunting Ridge Ln. reported having seen the camera attached to the pole in previous days, but that it was no longer there.
Police do intend to talk to Alper about the camera placement. “We haven’t ascertained that yet but it is one of the questions we will be asking,” Brennan said.
Brennan says that if police do determine that the camera was attached to the Eversource pole, they’d likely just give a warning. “We’ll advise the individual who owns the particular device that it is unlawful and that they’d have to remove it. If they removed independently [before] our consult, then they did the right thing. If not, if we have to educate them to make them aware that anything on a public utility pole is forbidden, and if they remove it at that juncture then we’ve done what we’ve needed to do–educate them.”
We’ve reached out to Alper for comment regarding the camera mounting and whether he no longer intends to press charges, but have not received a response as of press time. We will update the story accordingly.