PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Deputies in Putnam County are investigating multiple reports of threatening letters they say citizens around the county have recently received.
“We take it serious because, you never know what people are thinking,” Said Putnam County Sheriff Bobby Eggleton. “You know, we’re living at a time right now that politically, it’s very emotional for people on both sides whether (it’s) right or left.”
The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office posted a copy of one of the letters on social media. They say the letters are considered harassment threats and all have been addressed to supporters of former President Donald Trump, who have shown their support by either having a flag or sign displayed in their yards.
“We really couldn’t believe it, when we read it. I mean, some of the language is disgusting, but the main thing I couldn’t believe is the hate, the hate in the letter,” said Dorothy Owens, a woman from Winfield who received one of the letters.
The letter addresses the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and calls Trump a “criminal insurrectionist.”
It goes on to call the victims an “Enemy of the United States of America” because, they continue to “display the treasonous and anti-American paraphernalia bearing the name of said criminal insurrectionist Donald J. Trump” after the events at the Capitol.
“One, I was shocked that I’ve never received hate mail like this before and calling me a terrorist when I’m a patriot,” said one Putnam County woman who did not wish to give her name to WSAZ.
WSAZ asked if the letter made them want to take down their pro-Trump displays:
“Actually I was going to put up other (Trump signs) anyways,” said the Putnam County woman. “I already had it planned and, I mean, it’s not deterred me any because I love the United States of America, I love this country (and) I love what Trump has done.”
“Nope, the flag stays up. I think that’s our privilege and freedom,” Owens told WSAZ, “and the flag should stay up, everybody should love one another not hate.”
Sheriff Eggleton said the address listed on the letters is a false address from the Pinch area with a Charleston postmark. He believes the letters were all printed and mailed around the same time to a number of people who live in Winfield and just outside of Winfield.
“We’ll take it serious, we’re looking at any criminal charges we can, harassing our citizens like that, we’ll make you famous,” the sheriff said.
He told WSAZ he believes the suspect(s) was driving around looking for houses with pro-Trump displays and/or looking through social media platforms of people who vocally support the former president.
“We’re just not going to put up with that. If you were going to drive around or if you’re going to social media to creep on somebody to find out their political views and then harass them, we take offense to that,” Eggleton said.
So far, no surrounding counties have reported any of the activity.
The sheriff said they are in contact with the post office and postal inspectors, which means whoever is behind the typed-out letter could be facing charges of not only harassment but also on the federal level.