Political target is vandal’s victim in Silt | PostIndependent.com

Political target is vandal’s victim in Silt

Politics may have spilled into the street Monday night during a Silt Board of Trustees meeting when a city employee’s vehicle sustained deep scratch marks on its door and hood.

Silt community development director Janet Steinbach’s vehicle was found to be “keyed” outside Town Hall sometime during the 7 1/2-hour meeting. Police are investigating whether the vandalism was connected to political unrest that’s been dividing the town recently or just a random act.

“The investigation is really preliminary,” Silt Detective Michael Williams said. “We have tool marks and shavings. We believe it was possibly a key.”

Police suspect the act could have been politics-turned-personal because some comments in a survey circulated around town lately have pitched criticism at Silt’s Board of Trustees and city employees, including Steinbach, accusing them of doing a poor job running the city.

“Partly they’re unhappy and contesting building permit fees,” town manager Craig Ohlson said of some town residents. “They have a difficult time with the building inspector (Dick Barrows).”

The survey also asked pointed questions about Mayor John Evans’ job performance, the town’s water quality and the town’s appearance.

Ohlson said city officials are trying to resolve these problems.

“If anyone has any questions or concerns, feel free about coming in and talking to me,” Ohlson said.

The survey was circulated by Mesa View resident Shannon Bailey, organizer of Concerned Citizens of Silt, but Bailey flatly denied having anything to do with Monday’s vandalism.

“It’s really petty. It’s not any of us; we wouldn’t stoop to that level,” Bailey said.

According to Silt police, the vandalism occurred between the start of the meeting at 7 p.m. Monday evening and its end at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Scratch marks were found on the driver’s side door and on the hood of the vehicle and damage is estimated to be more than $500, which makes the crime a felony.

Also, in what police characterized as “a separate but possibly related incident,” a Silt police officer discovered a nail underneath the tire of his car. The nail was set up to puncture the tire if the officer hadn’t noticed it.

“Fortunately, the officer saw the screw during his pre-shift inspection and was thus able to prevent the intended damage,” the Silt police statement said.

Members of the department are analyzing forensic evidence and ask anyone with information to call Williams at 876-2731, extension 21, or to e-mail them at SiltPD@cs.com.

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