Political Scarecrows Set on Fire

Colchester town Democrats think it was intentionally set

Seven scarecrows featuring the faces of prominent Democrats were set on fire in Colchester on Tuesday night.

The faces of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Chris Murphy and Joe Courtney were featured in the display which is part of Colchester's annual scarecrow contest.

"I was saddened," Monica Swyden, a member of the Democratic Town Committee, said. "It was a deplorable act. It's bordering on, in my opinion, a hate crime."

There are many displays featured on the town green and all of them were untouched, including the Republican setup.

"I think it was definitely politically motivated," Swyden said. "I think there's something here against the Democrats."

Some members of the board of selectmen are hoping police get to the bottom of what happened.

"We really want to see it investigated," Rosemary Coyle, a member of the board of selectmen, said.

Folks visiting the kid-friendly event on Wednesday night were saddened to hear about what happened.

"I think it's terrible," Janice Adams, a Colchester resident, said. "No matter whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, it's terrible."

Democrats also criticized First Selectman Gregg Schuster for what he posted on Facebook right after the fire.

His post read: "Minor fire on the town green tonight. Apparently, the Democrats scarecrow was lit. At the time, I was in a meeting with over a dozen people that will confirm it wasn't me!"

Reached by phone on Wednesday evening, Schuster told NBC Connecticut that what happened on the green was "unacceptable."

"I'm upset anytime there is an act of vandalism, whether it was political or not," Schuster said.

The Colchester Business Association is putting up a $250 reward and Schuster plans to match that.

"... I of course hope whomever is responsible is caught. To that end, I have decided to personally match the $250 reward put out by the DTC. Will anyone else join me?," he posted.

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