The Staten Island campaign office of Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) suffered a destructive break-in over the weekend, in an incident that left three windows shattered by cinderblocks and computer hard drives cleared.
The first-term congressman was informed of the damage Sunday and quickly decried it as a "politically motivated crime" and "an assault on democracy and the political process."
“In fact, one officer said to me today they see this as a crime against the government, because I am a sitting United States congressman and they take it very seriously. You know, especially in light of what happened with Gabby Giffords, we’re not in the world today where we can shrug things off,” Grimm said, according to the State Island Advance. “Violence is violence. Throwing large stones and concrete through the window is an act of violence, and we’ve got to take it seriously."
Continuing, Grimm declared the episode indicative of something that he thought would take place elsewhere in the world.
"This ignorance, of violence, I would expect in the Middle East. You know, that wouldn't shock me at all," Grimm said. "But here on Staten Island, a family-based community, we're better than that."
The New York Daily News reported that police have found no evidence of forced entry at the building and are investigating the incident as an act criminal mischief, not burglary.
Grimm is currently under federal investigation over allegations that he took illegal donations during his 2010 campaign. The Tea Party favorite has denied any wrongdoing amid an ongoing probe that has focused on his connection to a wealthy Israeli rabbi.
Intruders were able to clear data from the hard drives by installing Linux on office computers. Grimm told authorities that the sensitive polling data, voter information, and other campaign material contained in the hard drives had all been backed up "literally hours before." He suggested that a suspect could have gained access to the building because his campaign hadn't changed the locks since it changed hands from the car dealership that had previously occupied the building.
Nathan Smith, a spokesman for the Grimm's Democratic challenger, Mark Murphy, also denounced the attack in a statement from the campaign.
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