A teenager with a guilty conscience has complicated a New York congressman’s claim that there was a politically motivated break-in at his campaign office. The eighth-grader confessed to a guidance counselor at his school on Tuesday that he and a friend were the ones who smashed windows over the weekend at the Staten Island campaign office of Republican U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm, said New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne. Police called it a random act of vandalism. They said the teen only became aware his target was Grimm’s office after a wave of news reports about a possible break-in. The boy was expected to be charged with criminal mischief as a juvenile, Browne said.
When the damage was discovered Sunday, Grimm released a statement calling it a “politically motivated crime.” He claimed that police believed the broken windows were a “cover-up” for a burglary in which someone had erased the hard drives on the campaign’s computer server. Grimm’s account of deleted campaign records drew extra media scrutiny because they came as the FBI is investigating whether he received illegal donations from followers of an Israeli rabbi during his successful 2010 campaign.
Last month, an Israeli businessman who had helped Grimm raise hundreds of thousands of dollars from the rabbi’s followers was arrested by the FBI on an unrelated charge of lying on a visa application. He has pleaded innocent, and Grimm has denied any knowledge of fundraising improprieties. On Tuesday, Grimm released a statement calling for leniency for the vandals and expressing relief that the vandalism was not political. “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 explained.
Full Article: Police: Teen admits vandalizing NYC pol’s office – WSJ.com.