Former RI state rep. denies political sign theft

Police Photo: Brian Coogan accused of stealing campaign signs from a neighbor's yard.

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A former state representative charged with stealing political campaign signs is telling his side of the story.

Outside East Providence city hall Wednesday, Brian Coogan denied the allegations and called them, “a witch-hunt.”

Eyewitness News spoke with police and obtained the police report detailing the incident.

According to the police report, Coogan and an unidentified woman tried to steal lawn and fence signs from a neighbor’s house on Summit Street.

A neighbor saw the suspects and identified Coogan to police.

“But I live next door, so of course he knows who I am,” said Coogan.

Coogan was charged Tuesday on misdemeanor charges of attempted larceny, receiving stolen goods and conspiracy.

He claims the charges were brought against him because of a vendetta from the acting city manager.

“I fired Tim Chapman and he ordered the police to charge me.  And I talked to numerous police officers, and they are very upset they’re being used as a political pawn,”

Eyewitness News reached out to East Providence Police Chief Parella. He said he would not comment on a “ridiculous” comment.

We also reached out to city manager Tim Chapman and are waiting to hear back.

Coogan is due back in court on November 15th.