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Lockport police probing vandalism of officials’ vehicles

LOCKPORT – Police Chief Lawrence M. Eggert said Tuesday that his department is investigating the vandalism of several city officials’ vehicles in the past few weeks.

City Clerk Richelle J. Pasceri was the latest victim, saying the passenger door of her vehicle was severely scratched sometime between Sunday evening and Monday afternoon.

Common Council President Joseph C. Kibler said his vehicle was similarly damaged, apparently with a key, but he wasn’t sure where or when.

Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey said she was aware of another Council member whose vehicle had been vandalized, but she declined to give details.

Eggert said the city-owned vehicle assigned to Fire Chief Thomas J. Passuite was spattered with eggs a few weeks ago.

In addition, McCaffrey said five of the six aldermen had received “borderline harassing” phone calls at home recently.

There has been hostility between city officials and employees over layoffs in recent weeks. The Council abolished city-run ambulance service last month and laid off 14 employees, including five firefighters, this month.

After the Oct. 1 Council meeting, discussions between alderman and firefighters became so heated that elected officials were offered police escorts to their cars.

Tuesday, Eggert said the vandalism cases are being investigated, but he couldn’t say if they were connected to one another or to anything else. He said any other viewpoint is “speculation.”

Kibler said he eats daily at a Pine Street restaurant, and said it’s possible someone backed into his vehicle there. “I’m not sure where it happened,” he said.

Pasceri said her vehicle was at home Sunday night, except for a brief trip to Tops, and was parked at City Hall Monday.

“I will let the police do their investigation,” she said.

McCaffrey said she hasn’t been harassed. Asked if she had any ideas who might be behind the damage, the mayor said, “I can’t say. I’ll let somebody else make that conclusion.”