CONCORD, NH – 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, most recently on May 21.
NHPR said on Thursday that it is working closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement to support all investigations of these incidents.
“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,” said NHPR in a story posted on their news site on Thursday.
A May 26 joint statement from Middlesex Mass. Attorney General Marian Ryan and Melrose Chief of Police Michael Lyle provided more detail and asked the public for help in identifying a man who was captured on a home security camera throwing a brick through the window of the reporter’s residence on Lynn Fells Parkway in Melrose, Mass. (see below).
At approximately 10:30 a.m. on May 21, 2022, the victim, who lives at the home, reported to police that a brick had been thrown through a window and that the message “just the beginning” was spray-painted on the house. The victim also reported that three other properties located in New Hampshire had also recently been vandalized by brick-throwing and spray painting. The victim informed police that the Melrose incident was captured on a Ring doorbell.
The images on the camera suggest that the suspect is a white male with a slender build, approximately 5-foot-10-inches tall. The man is seen wearing a light blue hooded raincoat, khaki pants and black sneakers, and had a blue-green backpack.
After the brick is thrown, the man is seen fleeing the scene toward Lincoln Street in Melrose.
Subsequent investigation revealed that the victim, who works as a reporter at New Hampshire Public Radio, has been apparently targeted on a total of five separate occasions, including in Concord, Hampstead and Hanover at residences connected to her. As part of the ongoing investigation into this matter, police are looking at her recent work to determine if there is any connection with the incidents of vandalism.
On Thursday Brendan McQuaid, President of the New Hampshire Press Association issued the following statement:
“The New Hampshire Press Association is distressed by the news that New Hampshire journalists and their family members have been the victims of targeted vandalism at homes in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Any attempts to prevent journalists from freely exercising their first amendment rights is intolerable in a free society.“We hope the perpetrators of these heinous acts are swiftly brought to justice and implore the public to assist law enforcement with identification of those responsible. Members of the press are not easily deterred. Our thoughts at the NHPA are with our fellow journalists.”
Also issuing a statement was Melanie Plenda, director of the Granite State News Collaborative, on behalf of its partner organizations. which includes NHPR.
“We learned today that NH Public Radio reporters and their families have been the victims of vandalism of their homes in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
“These journalists are our colleagues, partners and friends. They, like the rest of us in the field, do this work as a service to all of our communities. Cowardly acts of vandalism or violence against these or any journalist should not be tolerated by our communities. This should be unacceptable to all of us.
“We are appalled at these acts and urge anyone with information to alert the proper authorities to bring the perpetrator to justice.
“As for our partners at NHPR, we stand in solidarity with you and your families. ”
Melanie Plenda, director Granite State News Collaborative and GSNC local news partners: 603 Diversity, The Berlin Sun, Business NH Magazine, The Business Journal of Greater Keene, Brattleboro and Peterborough, The Concord Monitor, The Conway Daily Sun, The Eagle Times, The Eagle-Tribune, The Equinox, The Keene Sentinel, The Laconia Daily Sun, Manchester Ink Link, The Marlin Fitzwater Center at Franklin Pierce University, The Nashua Telegraph, The New Hampshire, NH Bar News, NH Business Review, New Hampshire Press Association, NH PBS, The Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, The Pierce Arrow, Seacoast Media Group and The Valley News.
Investigators are asking anyone with any information about this incident or who believes they may know this individual to contact Melrose Police at 781-665-1212.
This is an active and ongoing investigation being conducted by the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office and Melrose Police. Investigators are also working with the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office.