EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

August 17, 2011

Methuen mayoral candidate is target of vandalism

By Mark E. Vogler

METHUEN — Mayoral candidate Al DiNuccio figured he was a target of political vandalism last night when he showed up at his campaign office to find the glass of the front door peppered with apparent BB gun holes.

"It's definitely not a supporter," DiNuccio quipped when asked about his suspicions of the incident.

"The only thing that was shot up was the middle door of our campaign office. Our signs are on the door behind the glass. It seems like they were aiming at the signs. It's somewhat campaign-related, but I don't want to make too much drama out of it," DiNuccio said.

"It's not crazy bad. If it were real bullets, it would be a major deal. It looked like a drive-by," he said.

DiNuccio, who finished runner-up to Mayor William Manzi two years ago, is one of four mayoral candidates on the ballot for the Sept. 20 preliminary election. His challengers include City Councilors Jack Cronin and Stephen Zanni and School Committeeman Kenneth Willette Jr. The top two winners advance to the November election.

DiNuccio said he was initially shook up when he arrived at his office at 5 Pelham St. at about 7:30 p.m. to find the front door glass "spider webbed with six shots of some sort."

"Our headquarters has been open for a few weeks now and usually, somebody is there every night," DiNuccio said.

"It's right at intersection of Five Corners near the fire station. It's one of the most busy spots in the city, and nobody noticed it," he said.

Methuen Police Sgt. Donald Lavigne said last night that police responded to a call from DiNuccio's office for a report of vandalism.

"Somebody shot what appeared to be six BBs into the front glass door," Lavigne said.

The incident happened sometime between 6:30 p.m. Monday and 7 o'clock last night. There were no suspects in the case and the crime remained under investigation, Lavigne said.

DiNuccio declared that neither he nor his staff were intimidated by the incident.

"This stuff fires us up, and actually makes us work harder," DiNuccio said.

"I don't think it's personal. You know the campaign is heating up now. We filed a report with police in case anything else happens in the future. The police told us they would keep an eye on it," he said.

Last night's incident rekindled thoughts of another one involving a political candidate.

"Last year, Jon Golnik's headquarters burned down," DiNuccio recalled of the fire that destroyed the Westford campaign office of Golnik, a Republican who mounted an unsuccessful election challenge against Democratic Congresswoman Niki Tsongas.

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