New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said Tuesday that a local eighth-grader told a school counselor that he was involved in vandalizing Rep. Michael Grimm’s New York re-election office, the Associated Press reports.
The student and his friend reportedly threw rocks and pieces of cement through a window at Grimm’s office on Staten Island over the weekend. Browne said that the boy is likely to be charged as a juvenile with criminal mischief.
But Grimm had made the incident sound much more serious than petty vandalism. Grimm told the Staten Island Advance that intruders installed the Linux operating system on a computer in the office. Furthermore, Grimm’s office claimed that hard drives in the office were erased.
Grimm had also compared the vandalism and the shooting of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords last year, saying “this heinous act represents an assault on democracy and the political process, more so than it does on me as a person or a candidate. I do believe this is a politically motivated crime.”
However, according to The New York Times, “a law enforcement official said on Monday night that police experts had examined the campaign’s computer systems and concluded that nothing had been erased or tampered with.”
In a Tuesday statement, Grimm maintained a grave tone, but did not address the alleged computer hacking. “It is unfortunate that these young kids would commit such an act of vandalism.”
“We are very relieved to know this is not politically motivated. At the time, when we saw three large window panes broken, following a consistent pattern of lawn sign thefts and after several locations with Grimm signs and posters were barraged with eggs, it was not hard to come to any other conclusion.”
He also lamented the “shameless media spin and speculation fueled by unscrupulous sources” surrounding the recent campaign office incident.
Grimm called the vandals to reflect on the “importance of serving our community instead of vandalizing it.”