On July 21 at 4 a.m., animal rights activists Janice Angelillo and Nicholas Cooney were arrested outside a Hoffman-LaRoche facility in New Jersey. When she was arrested, police say the hands and clothing of both activists was stained with the same color spray paint has had been used in an earlier act of anti-Hoffman-LaRoche vandalism that morning.
Police subsequently deployed a 15-officer team to raid Angelillo’s residence. The officers removed a computer and other items from the residence.
In Angelillo’s world, however, she’s not under scrutiny because of the spray paint incident — just the latest in a long series of arrests for Angelillo — but rather she’s being persecuted for her beliefs. Angelillo told the Home News Tribune,
I feel like I’m being targeted for my political beliefs because I’m rather vocal and a public advocate for animal rights. It feels almost like harassment. I really don’t understand why they sent in a big SWAT team and raided my house all because I was brought up on misdemeanor charges. I think it was kind of outrageous.
Whereas prowling around Hoffman-LaRoche at 4 a.m. in the morning with the intent to commit acts of vandalism is simply a normal morning activity for Angelillo.
Angelillo and Cooney have been charged with giving fake identities to police, criminal mischief, criminal trespassing and conspiracy to commit criminal mischief. They will also be charged with criminal mischief for an act of vandalism that occurred in Long Beach, New Jersey, within 24 hours of the July 21st arrest.
The raid on Angelillo’s residence is clearly based on suspicions that Angelillo and/or Cooney have been involved with or have information about other animal rights related crimes committed in Pennsylvania, where Cooney lives.
Police also appear to be investigating whether Angelillo’s husband Ted Nebus might be involved in any acts of vandalism. A police spokesman told the Home News Tribune,
Our first encounter with him [Nebus] was when we executed a search warrant at the house (on Saturday). Prior to that, he’s not been a suspect, although he may become a suspect based on our examination of the evidence that we recovered from the house.
Animal activist questions count. Cheryl Sarfaty, Home News Tribune, July 28, 2005.