Around New England

FBI Hunting Real-Life “Riddler” Suspected Of Animal Cruelty, Extortion, In “Vicious Shakedown”

November 28, 2018

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking for a riddle-writing extortionist suspected of committing acts of vandalism and animal cruelty at a Hollis, NH farm. The FBI is offering a $10,000 award to anyone who leads the bureau to the suspect or suspects.

According to spokesperson Kristen Setera of the FBI field office in Boston, the family that owns Rickety Ranch has “received multiple extortion letters that were sent in an attempt to collect $250,000.”

A press statement issued by the FBI says the family has also been the “target of various attacks over the last two years” which have resulted in “thousands of dollars in damage do their property, including their vehicles and barn [and] multiple acts of animal cruelty.”

Whoever sent the letters in what FBI special agent Harold H. Shaw described as a “vicious shakedown,” promised to “spare the family from harm” in exchange for payment and offered to help settle the family’s “ongoing disputes with the Town of Hollis.”

According to the Union Leader, the farm is owned by Gary and Diana Bergeron. The Union Leader also reports that the suspect or suspects left “bizarre rhyming notes” for the family.

It was these notes that drew the FBI into the investigation, the Union Leader reports.

The Nashua Telegraph reports Rickety Ranch is a “working farm” that is known in Hollis “as a rescue for farm animals that also hosted educational programs for children.”

The Telegraph and the Union Leader also report that the Bergerons have had some difficulties with their abutters and the town government over land use and water run-off issues at their farm. The Union Leader writes a lawsuit filed by the Town of Hollis against the farm regarding “zoning violations” is “still pending.”

A suspicious January 21 fire at Rickety Ranch that destroyed a barn is not mentioned by the FBI, nor were details offered about the nature of the acts of animal cruelty.

“We’re asking anyone with information about who is terrorizing [the Bergerons] to come forward and share that information with us so we can put a stop to it and bring whoever is responsible to justice,” Shaw said in the FBI statement.

Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI Boston Division at (857) 386-2000.

 

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