Police: Farm family feuds led to vandalism

 Christopher Thompson, Christian Leggett and Bryan Ashley-Sellek
Christopher Thompson, Christian Leggett and Bryan Ashley-Sellek (WCAX)
Published: Sep. 4, 2019 at 4:41 PM EDT
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Police have arrested three men after a string of farm vandalisms in Bridport.

Wednesday afternoon, Vermont state police announced three Bridport men are facing charges. They are Christopher Thompson, 26; Christian Leggett, 19; and Bryan Ashley-Selleck, 26.

The charges range from arson to stalking to theft. State police say the men damaged property and at one point fired a weapon.

Our Cat Viglienzoni has an update on why police say the men targeted the farms.

Investigators say it appears the crimes stemmed from a feud between local farm families which started over access to a fishing area.

But a local migrant farmworker advocacy group says they still believe the incidents were motivated by race, too.

State police did work with Migrant Justice, the attorney general's office and others because it was reported as a possible hate crime. Their investigation ultimately found the vandalisms were connected to disputes between local families fighting over the fishing area.

When we went to Migrant Justice for comment, they said they didn't believe that was the full story, calling it a racist attack against immigrants in the community.

Reporter Cat Viglienzoni: So how do we know it was racially motivated?

Will Lambek/Migrant Justice: Well, the nature of the crimes. The fact that it was immigrant farmworkers who were targeted. And additional information we have provides clear evidence that there's a racial motivation. And that's been provided to police.

There is another police investigation open into a separate harassment incident at another farm in Addison County that Migrant Justice says they believe is also racially motivated. That is still open.

As for the three suspects in the Bridport case, they will be in court in October. Migrant Justice told us as of now, they have no plans to attend that.