Rindge police respond to serious assault as well as vandalism over the weekend

Chief calls for end to annual Halloween vandalism tradition

  • Rindge police are asking for the public's help in tracking down information regarding a spate of vandalism that impacted the center of town Saturday into Sunday. In addition to toilet papering the common, approximately 30 people - suspected to be juveniles - poured maple syrup on two police cruisers, dumped over trashcans, and lit a couch on fire in the middle of the road. Courtesy photo

  • Rindge police are asking for the public's help in tracking down information regarding a spate of vandalism that impacted the center of town Saturday into Sunday. Courtesy photo—

  • Rindge police are asking for the public’s help to identify the person seen in this screenshot. The suspect poured maple syrup over two police cruisers and may have been involved in the greater scope of vandalism that took place late Saturday/early Sunday in Rindge. Courtesy photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, October 22, 2018 5:29PM

Rindge Police Chief Daniel Anair is calling for an end to a Halloween “tradition” that involves toilet papering the town common, saying Monday that this year’s vandalism got out of hand.

The juvenile pranks initially went unnoticed by police officers on duty Saturday night since they were busy responding to a serious assault case at Franklin Pierce University. As many as eight Franklin Pierce University students could be charged after a teen visiting the campus was beaten so badly at a dorm room party that his injuries will require surgery, Anair said.

Anair said approximately 30 “juveniles” were gathered at the Rindge Town Common near the intersections of Main Street, School Street, and Payson Hill Road late Saturday night into early Sunday morning. In addition to toilet papering the common, people also poured maple syrup on two police cruisers, threw bottles and cans at passing cars, rearranged letters on a sign at the First Congregational Church, dumped over trash cans, did burnouts, and lit a couch on fire at the intersection of Main Street and School Street.

“If I have it my way, this will be the last year of this tradition,” Anair said. “I’m pretty disappointed at the level of disrespect shown by everyone involved.”

Anair, who has been working with the department for 17 years, said each year he has been on the force there has been some vandalism in town every year around Halloween, but this year went above and beyond anything he has seen before.

“Some day, someone is going to get hurt,” Anair said. “Part of my concern is there’s always been a stigma that it’s a tradition. The problem is that it is getting out of control.”

There have been no arrests in the case, but any juvenile found to have been involved will be subjected to a juvenile diversion program, he said. The program involves the parents and other community members to come up with a viable punishment outside of the court system.

Police were originally made aware of the situation by members of the fire department, who were called to the town common area early Sunday morning for a few different calls including the couch on fire. Anair said no complaints were made to the police department when the vandalism was taking place. Police were not able to respond with firefighters because officers were tied up at FPU from 11:30 p.m. Saturday until 1:30 a.m. on Sunday responding to an assault case where a visiting juvenile was badly injured.

“Both units were tied up for a while,” Anair said. “The fire department broke up most of it when they drove through.”

Fire department personnel gathered some evidence for the police department, such as license plate numbers, which police plan to use to track down suspects, Anair said.

A crew from the town’s Department of Public Works cleaned up the mess from the vandalism on Monday. Anair said police also had to clean syrup off both cruisers. “This is taking the DPW and Rindge police away from what we should be doing,” Anair said. “This is going to take some time to clean up.”

Police posted surveillance footage taken outside the police station showing the syrup incident on Facebook Monday asking for tips from the public. Monday afternoon, Anair said police are already looking into several anonymous tips about the suspect. “The one who [dumped maple syrup] needs to be held accountable… but he wasn’t the only one involved,” Anair said. “I want to make sure one person isn’t taking the brunt of this.”

People with information about the vandalism or the assault are asked to police at 603-355-2000 or submit a tip through the police department’s website.