By Evan Stambaugh
Police have charged a woman caught on video stealing Republican campaign literature from a resident’s mailbox after inserting the literature of a Democratic state Senate candidate.
In a Friday press release, the Hibbing Police Department announced that Lisa Linnea Fitzpatrick, 61, has been charged under Minnesota Statutes for intentionally removing mail from a mail depository without claim of right.
The offense is a felony and carries a maximum sentence of 3 years in jail, a $5,000 fine, or both.
Fitzpatrick was seen on home security footage opening a resident’s mailbox to insert a campaign flyer from Minnesota Senate candidate Ben DeNucci and remove a flyer from U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber on Saturday, Oct. 15.
Lisa Fitzpatrick has been caught stealing @PeteStauber material from mailboxes. She is a Director at UMD and is facing potential Felony charges.
— Dustin Grage (@GrageDustin) October 23, 2022
According to the press release, Fitzpatrick volunteered to distribute campaign literature that day. Fitzpatrick admitted that she removed the Stauber flyer from the resident’s mailbox, according to the press release.
The Mesabi Tribune reports that a DFL Senate Caucus staffer identified the suspect as Fitzpatrick in a phone call to the Hibbing Police Department.
When the home security footage emerged last week, DeNucci disavowed Fitzpatrick’s actions, writing on his campaign Facebook page that they were “not sanctioned by our campaign” and the residence in question “was not part of an authorized canvass by our campaign.”
In another statement, DeNucci said that Fitzpatrick came from outside his district and was unknown to the campaign prior to Oct. 15.
“The recorded woman is not welcome to ever show her face at another event of mine, and I am spreading her name and number to the DFL units in the area to make sure she is blacklisted from volunteering,” he said.
Both the campaign manager for Rep. Stauber and Republican Party of Minnesota Chair David Hann denounced the “tactics” of Democrats after news of the incident first broke. In reply, DeNucci accused Minnesota Republicans of “knee-jerk finger pointing and falsehoods.”
“In a world where there are so many threats to personal safety it is highly irresponsible and reckless for the MN GOP to attempt to score cheap political points on the back of mail tampering,” he said.
DeNucci is running in Minnesota Senate District 7 against Republican candidate Rob Farnsworth.