Police find 20 ‘bloated’ puppets and mock news anchors posted to street to target rival community
A Toronto man has been arrested on charges of “hate-motivated mischief” over a spate of vandalism targeting rival communities.
Authorities say more than 20 inflatable puppets and mock news anchors placed around a Toronto neighbourhood of Siwash Rock have caused more than $140,000 in damage and caused stress for residents.
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The Greater Toronto Area is undergoing a major housing boom that has seen construction of upscale neighbourhoods. The new communities have been built close to existing ones. While the majority of residents support the idea, residents of Siwash Rock on and near the border of Don Valley Park have not been happy, with a rise in bullying and intimidation.
The creator of the animatronic characters, Ryan Galloway, was an associate at a video game company, Pitchwarm, before his arrest.
Police would not provide the name of the accused who was arrested on Saturday but confirmed that he was released on bail on Saturday night.
He has been charged with malicious mischief and hate-motivated mischief.
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His lawyer said the man appeared in court on Monday and had a change of heart.
“He was extremely surprised and upset because his intent was always to create a positive message in contrast to what was going on in Siwash Rock,” said Brian George.
George said that after two arrests, one of which was under bail conditions, the man was attempting to contact residents affected by the crime.
He added that all of the condemned puppets were “bloated” and deflated when they were found.
• This article was amended on 9 April 2019 to correct an error in the original.