FBI: Farm getting extortion letters, suffers property damage

(Source: WBZ-TV/YouTube)

HOLLIS, N.H. (AP) — A New Hampshire farm has been receiving multiple extortion letters in an attempt to collect $250,000 and has suffered thousands of dollars of damage to vehicles and a barn, the FBI said Tuesday.

The agency said in a news release the family that runs the Rickety Ranch in Hollis has been the target of attacks for over two years. The agency said the sender offered to spare them from harm in exchange for payment, and "claimed to be capable of settling their ongoing disputes with the town." The FBI said it was not aware of any disputes.

In addition to damage to vehicles and farm equipment, the agency said "multiple acts of animal cruelty" were committed on the farm. Some animals died, others were seriously injured.

The agency is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the location, arrest and prosecution of the person or people responsible.

"The vicious shakedown of this family and the use of violence to intimidate them will not be tolerated. We're asking anyone with information about who is terrorizing them to come forward and share that information with us so we can put a stop to it, and bring whoever is responsible to justice," said Harold Shaw, special agent in charge of the FBI Boston division.

The farm's Facebook page describes it as an educational rescue farm "for kids and run by kids," also offering eggs and other products.

A man answering the phone at the farm said he was the owner, but declined to comment.

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