Second Teen Charged In Connection With Vandalism Of Grimm's Office
Over the weekend, Rep. Michael Grimm's campaign office was vandalized. The act led the congressman, who is up for re-election this fall, to claim it was a political act. Instead, a couple of teenagers are charged with the crime. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
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Police say the broken windows at Rep. Michael Grimm's campaign office weren't exactly political dirty tricks.
Two teenagers, a 14-year-old and 16-year-old Avery Gerena, are charged with the crime.
On Wednesday, Gerena was in criminal court and was charged with criminal mischief. He pleaded not guilty.
It puts to rest initial assertions by Rep. Grimm that the shattered glass was a so-called political attack.
"This is a federal congressional campaign office," Grimm said Sunday. "I expect acts of violence against candidates or campaigns or free elections in the Middle East, not here in Staten Island. Certainly not in the United States but especially in Staten Island."
And that computer files were tampered with.
"Someone entered the premises, so it is a burglary," he said. "I'm not a computer wizard but in some way, they erased the hard drives of our main computers."
According to NYPD officials, the initial complaint said nothing about tampering with computers at Rep. Grimm's campaign office. It also wasn't filed by the congressman himself but was filed by a campaign staffer.
In court papers, Gerena said he didn't know it was Grimm's office and his friend had said "it's nothing but an empty dealership."
After police pinned the crime on the two teenagers, Grimm released a statement saying because some of his lawn signs were stolen and other signs were damaged it was "not hard" to come to the conclusion the latest vandalism was politically motivated.
"What is troubling about this series of events is the shameless media spin and speculation fueled by unscrupulous sources," Grimm also said in his statement.
The NYPD is still looking into the computer tampering claims.
For now, Grimm urged authorities to be lenient with the two teenagers.
His campaign appears to still be exercising caution. On Wednesday, the locks were changed.