EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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April 8, 2013

Lantigua critic: I vandalized mayor's truck

LAWRENCE – A vocal critic of Mayor William Lantigua admitted to police that he vandalized Lantigua’s pickup truck while it was parked outside Bali’s restaurant on Essex Street right before Easter.

Antonio Arevalo, 46, told police he threw garbage on Lantigua’s truck, placed a broom stick in the driver’s door handle, stuffed lottery tickets in the muffler pipe and put rock salt in the gas tank - causing an estimated $2,500 damage. Detectives obtained video surveillance from an area business which showed Arevalo in the area when Lantigua’s 2002 Chevrolet Avalanche was damaged. They confronted him with the footage leading to his confession.

Arevalo, who lives in East Boston but frequently visits the city, admitted to police it was “a childish prank,” according to a police report.

“... Mr. Arevalo said he felt he was being treated like dirt, that he felt the mayor got away with too much and he decided he would decorate his truck with trash,” according to a report by Detective Lt. Mary Bartlett.

Arevalo was issued a summons for malicious damage and will face arraignment in Lawrence District Court in the near future.

Previously, Arevalo unsuccessfully tried to a get restraining orders against Lantigua and his top aide, Patrick Blanchette, the city’s chief economic development director.

In April 2011, Arevalo said he was attacked by a 378-pound nightclub bouncer who accused him of snitching on Lantigua. Bouncer David Figueroa pleaded guilty to the attack on Arevalo and was sentenced to 90 days in jail in October.

On Friday, March 29, Lantigua told police his truck was vandalized while it was parked in an empty lot to the west of Bali’s restaurant at 59 Essex St. The mayor said he’d gone there the night before around 9 p.m. After eating dinner, he left Bali’s around 11 p.m. with friends and left his truck behind, he told police.

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