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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, June 18, 2009

Prank politically motivated?
Cops to fingerprint dog cut-out

By Anne Hayden

GUILDERLAND — Peter Golden, who announced last week that he is considering a run for town supervisor with Republican endorsement, is concerned that he may have been the target of a political act meant to threaten.

Golden informed The Enterprise on Tuesday that someone had placed a black, wooden cut-out of a dog, with one of the paws severed, on his Brandon Terrace lawn, presumably in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

“I’m a night owl, and the last time I looked outside was around 2 a.m.,” said Golden, a self-employed author. At that point, he did see someone outside, but didn’t think to take a closer look, he said. A neighbor later informed him that something was on his lawn, which is when Golden went out and saw the dog, he said.

Golden filed a report with the Guilderland Police, and said, if this incident were politically motivated, “I would be really disappointed.”

Captain Curtis Cox, of the Guilderland Police, said officers will be investigating the incident the same way they would investigate any report of vandalism. If the wooden cut-out can be fingerprinted, that is one avenue the department could take, he said.

“People can assume that it’s politically motivated, but with no further evidence, it is very difficult to prove,” said Cox.

There have been speculations in Guilderland’s past concerning political attacks during election years. In 1997, Republican Ed Downey made a run for councilman, and had a rock thrown through his living room window in the middle of the night. In 2007, Mark Grimm, also Republican and running for town board, reported that his mailbox had been swiped.

Both incidents were investigated, with conjectures that they may have been politically inspired, but Cox said neither case was proven with any certainty.

“If there had ever been other evidence, such as a sticker, note, or campaign button on the scene, it would be easier to deduce it was something political,” according to Cox, in reference to all three incidents. There was no additional evidence left on Golden’s lawn, he said.

Citing Grimm’s mailbox accusation during the last election, Democratic Committee Chairman David Bosworth said that Republican candidates frequently make unsubstantiated claims during campaign season.

“It’s absolutely unacceptable that the Democratic Party is being linked with this prank,” he said of the wooden dog.

“If someone gets a flat tire, is it because the Democratic Party put broken glass on the road?” Bosworth asked.  “It’s preposterous.”

Democratic Supervisor Kenneth Runion said it is Senior Prank Week, and the vandalism is more likely a result of some type of prank. Golden is a former Guilderland School Board member.

“Everyone is quick to accuse everybody else, which is wrong,” said Runion. “People should check out the facts first.”

Golden said there are steps in place to prevent something like this from happening again. He declined to describe them.

“If this was political, it would not discourage me from running. In fact, it would only serve to encourage me,” he said.

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