Posted: Feb. 21, 2004
NOW GILLIGAN IS USED TO
TIRE ATTACKS, TOO
By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer
Three nights after state
Rep. Robert F. Gilligan's tires were punctured, it happened to him
again in what law enforcement authorities are treating as escalating
attacks on state officials.
Gilligan, the House
Democratic minority leader, and his wife Jeanne found their Ford SUV
listing to the side Friday night, the two driver-side tires
flattened by what appeared to be ice-picked holes, when they left
McGlynn's Pub, a restaurant in Pike Creek Valley, where they had met
The tires were replacements
with under 50 miles on them, installed after a puncture attack on
both Gilligan's car and state Sen. Karen E. Peterson's Toyota Camry
while the two were attending a civic association meeting Tuesday
evening in the Stanton area, where their districts overlap.
Peterson, a first-term
Democrat, previously had her tires slashed last February at a
Democratic fund-raiser, held at a union hall near Newport, and
Gilligan had done what he could to make light of his first
experience with criminal mischief. He noted that Peterson was taking
it better than he was, saying, "She's used to it. This is all new to
No one is making light of it
now. Attorney General M. Jane Brady said Saturday her office would
look into it, joining the New Castle County police who are
investigating the attack Tuesday night and the state police who are
investigating the one Friday night.
"It appears to be targeted
at state officials. That very much concerns us," Brady said. "We
don't know that it won't escalate."
The suspicion is that
political bad blood is motivating the vandalism. In both cases this
week, the cars belonging to Gilligan and Peterson were the only ones
targeted in crowded parking areas. Their cars are easy to identify
by the distinctive gold initialed license plates given to members of
the General Assembly.
Both lawmakers said they
were not about to give up their legislative tags.
"They are not taking that
away from me. People need to know that I'm in their neighborhoods
and at their meetings. I earned that," Peterson said, adding
defiantly, "Maybe I'll add a flashing neon sign."
Gilligan said he has had his
plates for 32 years, and they are staying. "We've got some sick
people out there," he said. "Between the county and the state police
and the attorney general, hopefully they'll be apprehended."
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