The Richmond Chamber of Commerce was broken into early Wednesday morning. Police say that while the case is still under investigation, there are no immediate suspects and no indication that the break in was politically motivated.
Chamber president, Judy Morgan, arrived at her office around 9:30 am—shortly after a breakfast meeting—to see the office’s alarm system had been tripped. She unlocked the door to a back office and found a broken window and feces smeared around the floor. Morgan also noticed two holes in the window of an adjacent room, which she believes were caused by a gun.
The only item missing was an external hard drive, which had been left on a chair in the room. Morgan said the drive contained all the office’s information but had been broken for several weeks. The room’s two computers—one of them brand new—were intact and had not been removed.
“It wasn’t just somebody stealing something of value that they could take out and sell,” Morgan said. “I think they knew what they wanted and came in to get information about the financial records. I could be totally wrong.”
Richmond Police Sgt. Christa Cappiali said she believes the break in was a typical burglary and not politically motivated. She said the feces were probably stuck on the bottom of the thief’s shoe and that it didn’t look like the work of a vandal. Cappiali couldn’t explain why nothing of value was taken or what caused the two strange holes in the kitchen window.
The crime scene investigator found no bullet casings or fingerprints at the scene, but did find rubber gloves in the garbage in the back alley. Cappiali said investigators were checking with neighboring businesses—including a dentist’s office—to see if the gloves matched those used in their office.
Miriam Ayala, an employee at the dentist’s office, said their gloves often turn up in the alley or fall out of the bags in the garbage.
Sgt. Cappiali said she didn’t believe a gun caused the holes in the kitchen window and that the department’s ShotSpotter system had no indication of gunfire in the area on Wednesday morning. Nonetheless she cautioned, “At this point we’re still looking into things and not ruling anything out.”
Investigators asked Morgan if the Chamber had any enemies. She said they only possibly had political enemies. “We have been very vocal in our support for Measure U and for our political candidates for mayor and city council.”
The Chamber has endorsed John Ziesenhenne for mayor, and Ludmyrna Lopez, Maria Viramontes, Virginia Finlay, and Rhonda Harris for city council.
“It’s very disheartening to think that people are out there doing this,” Morgan said. “I mean please, it’s only an election.”