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Cook commissioner arrested for vandalism

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Cook commissioner arrested for vandalism

Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica’s mug shot

Photo courtesy of the McCook Police Department

What appeared to be a Halloween weekend political prank got one Cook County Board member arrested late Saturday for allegedly tearing up his opponent’s campaign yard signs in the southwest suburbs.

But a spokesman for Republican Tony Peraica says the commissioner’s arrest just three days before he stands for re-election was a political set-up organized by Peraica’s Democratic opponent, Jeffery Tobolski.

Peraica was arrested after 11 p.m. Saturday McCook. He was charged with one count of criminal destruction of property for allegedly tearing up signs advertising Tobolski, who is the Mayor the tiny suburb where Peraica was arrested.

Peraica and another man were driving a white van in the area and were stopped after police received complaints of people defacing political signs, said McCook Police Chief Frank Wolfe.

The men were let go, only to be stopped about 15 minutes later following a complaint from an elderly woman that one of her political yard signs had been destroyed, Wolfe said. Police arrested Peraica after a local business owner identified the commissioner, who was wearing a black baseball cap and dark clothes, as the one who’d been destryoing the signs.

Police found three of the signs, each about 4-feet square, that had been torn up, Wolfe said.

But Michael Manzo, Peraica’s chief of staff, said his boss was simply putting up yard signs of his own to replace ones that had been damaged or vandalized. The arrest was simply a last-ditch effort to tarnish Peraica’s image with voters just a few days before voters would choose between he and Tobowlski at the polls, Manzo said.

“This is probably one of the biggest abuses I’ve ever seen,” Mazo said. “They’re watching him, they’re following Peraica wherever he goes. There’s no doubt about that.”

Peraica posted bond and was released early Sunday morning. He has a court date set for Nov. 22.

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