Police Name Toohey, Ryan Suspects in Theft of Trocki Signs; Toohey Says Signs Not Allowed

Haverhill mayoral candidate Daniel Trocki alleges Shaun P. Toohey and William H. Ryan (inset) removed his campaign signs from Lafayette Square. (Surveillance images)

With one week until Haverhill voters head to the polls to elect Haverhill’s next mayor, candidate Daniel Trocki alleges his campaign signs have been stolen by members of one of the city’s most prominent political families.

According to a police report obtained by WHAV, Haverhill Police officer Trocki said two of his red and white campaign signs placed on the island near the Copperhead Saloon’s parking lot in Lafayette Square were removed on Sept. 26. Filing a police report Oct. 3, Trocki—running against incumbent James J. Fiorentini—argues that William H. Ryan and Shaun P. Toohey were behind the alleged theft.

City surveillance footage viewed by WHAV appears to back up Trocki’s claim. Trocki’s wife, Shelby, was seen on city cameras placing two red and white signs on the island at 10 a.m. on Sept. 26. Later that same day at approximately 3 p.m., Ryan arrives in a dark Chevrolet pick-up truck and walks into KC Carpets, a business owned by his son-in-law, Toohey, located in the same building as the Copperhead Saloon. Twenty minutes later, Ryan and Toohey exit KC Carpets and walk the sidewalk toward the parking lot, with Toohey taking the sign out from the mulched island and putting it into the bed of Ryan’s truck.

Later that afternoon on Sept. 26, surveillance cameras captured Ryan placing the sign in a trash barrel. He is also said to have folded a second sign and “shoved it in a trash barrel” the next morning, according to a report filed by Sgt. James Keenan.

When questioned by police about the allegations, Ryan said he did not take any signs. He told Lt. Meaghan Pare, “he does not believe people still steal signs like they had in the ‘60s.” According to the report, two calls to Toohey from Haverhill Police were not returned.

Toohey tells WHAV he was simply following orders. “My landlord asked me to remove Mr. Trocki’s sign or any other signs from individuals who do not have permission from him directly,” Toohey said. “I was doing what was asked of me by the owner of the property. This stuff happens all the time during campaigns and his race has no bearing on mine. I have plenty of sign locations across the city, don’t you think? I can’t believe this is actually newsworthy. I wish both mayoral candidates best of luck.”

However, David Vasta, the property owner of 23-43 Lafayette Square, where both the Copperhead Saloon and KC Carpets are located, told Pare he had no issue with political signs being placed on the property as long as they were not “obtrusive” or would hurt the property. In addition to the Copperhead Saloon representative allowing Trocki to place signs on the property, Vasta said he has allowed Ryan to do the same for Toohey, who is running for Haverhill City Council.

Trocki declined to press charges against Ryan and former School Committee member Toohey, who are identified in the police report as “suspects” in the incident.

“My campaign is run on small individual donors, not corporations. A lot of time and money goes into placing yard signs,” the mayoral candidate told WHAV Monday. “We were disappointed that many signs were being damaged and removed. I was surprised by the individuals involved, but we have moved on.”

When reached Monday afternoon former Haverhill mayor, city councilor and School Committee member Ryan had no comment. Fiorentini also had no comment.

Haverhill’s municipal election takes place Tuesday, Nov. 5.

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