A reporter for a New Hampshire media outlet appears to have been targeted in five separate vandalism incidents, police in Melrose, Massachusetts said Thursday.
Melrose police said their involvement in the investigation began on May 21 when the victim reported that a brick had been thrown through her window at a home on Lynn Fells Parkway. The house was also spray-painted with a message, "this is just the beginning." A suspect was captured on Ring surveillance footage.
The suspect in the Melrose incident was described as a male with a slender build, around 5'10", and was wearing a light blue hooded raincoat, khaki pants, black sneakers and a blue-green backpack at the time.
Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan said the victim's previous home in New Hampshire, and the homes of her parents and bosses, have all allegedly been vandalized.
"If it is either in retaliation for some work that she has done, or intimidation around work she may be contemplating, that obviously involves some First Amendment concerns and is much more disturbing," Ryan said.
The victim is a reporter for New Hampshire Public Radio, the outlet confirmed Thursday.
"New Hampshire Public Radio journalists and family members have been the targets over the last month of a series of acts of vandalism and threats to their safety. NHPR is working closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement to support their investigations of these incidents, in hopes that the perpetrators will be brought to justice," the outlet said in a statement. "Likewise, we are supporting in every way possible the victims of these crude, senseless attacks."
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Investigators say the victim has been apparently targeted in five different incidents — including in the New Hampshire communities of Concord, Hampstead and Hanover. Police are trying to determine if there is a connection with any of the victim's work and the vandalism.
"Violence against journalists has increased at an alarming rate, in America and around the world. NHPR condemns attempts to intimidate or harm journalists, here in New Hampshire or anywhere else," the outlet said. "Our reporters, producers and editors will not be intimidated in the pursuit of New Hampshire Public Radio's public-service mission. NHPR's trustworthy journalism will continue, every day, to enrich lives and help build stronger communities, here in New Hampshire and beyond."
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone who recognizes the suspect above or with any other information is asked to call Melrose police at 781-665-1212.
Melrose police are working with the Middlesex District Attorney's Office and New Hampshire Attorney General's Office on this investigation.
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