WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Police have charged a Warwick man with a count of larceny under $1,500 for stealing a state representative’s campaign sign, and a political feud may be at the heart of the crime.
Ronald Loparto, 66, was cited for taking a sign for Warwick Rep. Camille Vella-Wilkinson’s reelection campaign from a D’Angelo’s on Warwick Avenue on Sunday evening, according to a police report.
A former volunteer for Vella-Wilkinson’s campaign had called police when they saw a man grabbing the sign and throwing it into the trunk of his car and driving off, and then parking on Criterion Avenue.
When an officer found the vehicle as described and Loparto standing next to it, the officer asked if he had any political signs in his vehicle that did not belong to him.
Police said Loparto copped to the pilfering.
But why did he allegedly steal a campaign sign from the side of the road?
Loparto told an officer he’s been in a feud with Rep. Vella-Wilkinson. He blames her, the officer said, for his own political campaign signs being stolen last year.
Vella-Wilkinson, as the owner of the political sign that was stolen, chose to press charges. Loparto was handcuffed and taken to the city’s police headquarters for booking.
Following his arrest, police drove Loparto back to restaurant so he could put the campaign sign back in its proper place.
He’s due to face a judge at Third District Court on the larceny charge January 14, 2021.