NYPD Looks Into ‘Criminal Mischief’ in Michael Grimm Office Break-In
After a rash of break-ins to Members’ offices and homes on Capitol Hill earlier this year, Rep. Michael Grimm is the latest lawmaker to be targeted by a burglary.
Unlike the other incidents, however, the New York Republican freshman faced vandalism and theft not in Washington but at his campaign headquarters in Staten Island.
The New York Police Department and the Capitol Police are both investigating the break-in. Of concern to Grimm’s office, however, is that the vandalism was a cover for stealing campaign data from the office’s computers.
Both the NYPD and the Capitol Police make it a policy to not comment on the specifics of an ongoing investigation, but an NYPD statement to Roll Call on Sunday night said it was investigating for “criminal mischief.” A spokesman with the force today would not clarify what that might mean.
Grimm spokeswoman Carol Danko did indicate that for Grimm and his staff, this appeared to be a district issue.
“There are no concerns regarding the security of the Washington office,” Danko said. “The Congressman has never seen this before.”
On late Sunday morning, according to a statement from the campaign, staffers arrived at the district campaign office to find that “two large chunks of cement and smaller rocks had been thrown through the windows, breaking 4’x 8′ vertical window panes.”
Of greater concern, however, was the discovery that the campaign’s computer hard drives had been hacked and cleared of “confidential campaign files and polling data.”
“This is a disgraceful act of cowardice that is beneath the people I represent,” Grimm said in a statement. “Even though this is not an official office, 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.”
Of the NYPD, Danko said the local police officers “are extremely capable of investigating this and we are working with them … we did notify the Capitol Police, but the extent of its involvement isn’t great I don’t think.”
Capitol Hill’s police force could have relevance, however.
“One officer said to me … they see this as a crime against the government, because I am a sitting United States Congressman and they take it very seriously,” Grimm told the Staten Island Advance on Sunday night. “You know, especially in light of what happened with Gabby Giffords, we’re not in the world today where we can shrug things off.”
Grimm was referring to the Arizona Democrat who was shot in the head at a constituent event in Tucson in January 2011. She resigned from the House earlier this year to focus fully on her recovery. Joshua Miller contributed to this report.