The investigation into the Oct. 16 firebombing of the Orange County Republican headquarters has led investigators to a clown.
Town officials announced Wednesday that surveillance footage gathered in their investigation of the incident denounced by presidential candidate Donald Trump and the Clinton campaign has helped solve a previously unreported theft of an ATM card – unrelated to the firebombing.
While reviewing video earlier this week, investigators saw an image of a person wearing a clown mask captured by an area ATM during the early-morning hours of Oct. 16, according to a town news release. They were able to identify the person in the clown mask, and charges are pending.
Investigation into the arson and graffiti attack continues.
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“Investigators are being very thorough, and some of the steps in this process — such as reviewing the video that has been collected — are simply going to take time,” Hillsborough Police Chief Duane Hampton said in the release.
He noted that investigators are reviewing footage from 20 nearby locations from midnight to 9 a.m. Oct. 16.
“With each video being reviewed by multiple investigators to ensure nothing is missed, this one step alone represents over 360 hours of work,” the chief said. “In addition, they have been continuing to thoroughly follow each tip and lead that comes in.”
Investigators have received hundreds of tips since the incident, in which a bottle containing flammable material was thrown through a front window of the Orange County Republican Party headquarters, at 347 Ja-Max Drive in the Shops at Daniel Boone. The device went out on its own but caused heavy smoke damage and some fire damage to the building. Graffiti also was spray-painted on the side of an adjacent building at 353 Ja-Max Drive.
The crime is being investigated jointly by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Investigative steps include canvassing and conducting interviews in the area; following up on tips; seeking additional evidence; and processing collected evidence. The state is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction for the crime.
Report a tip
Investigators ask anyone with information about the crime to:
▪ Report information anonymously through the town’s website. Call the Hillsborough Police Department’s tip line at 919-732-3975. The phone line is routed directly to voicemail and does not record callers’ phone numbers.
▪ Contact the FBI at 704-672-6100. Select Option 2 to report suspicious activity or a possible federal crime.
▪ Contact the State Bureau of Investigation at 919-662-4500.