Former RI state representative says he didn’t steal political signs

Former Rhode Island State Rep. Brian Coogan said he didn't steal political signs and called accusations that he did a witch hunt. (WJAR)

Former Rhode Island State Rep. Brian Coogan said he didn't steal political signs and called accusations that he did a witch hunt.

Coogan's former campaign manager said he's seen Coogan steal political signs. Coogan, however, said his political foes are conspiring against him due to a flyer that he distributed.

"I'm telling you today that because I put out a leaflet on the former mayor Bruce Roger's criminal past about his warrants and drug use and arrests -- that it's getting out of hand," Coogan said during a news conference Wednesday outside of East Providence City Hall.

Police said Coogan pulled up to a house on his motorcycle last week and told an unidentified female passenger to remove a sign on a fence for East Providence City Council candidate Bruce Rogers.

Coogan claims that's not true.

Rogers is running against Coogan's roommate, Anna Sousa, for East Providence City Council. NBC 10 News asked Coogan what his relationship is with Sousa. He replied, "It's private, to be honest with you."

According to the police report, when Coogan tried to steal a sign on Summit Street on Oct. 18, his motorcycle tipped over and another sign fell off the bike. The two left without either sign.

Coogan is running a write-in campaign for the House District 64 seat after losing the primary to Helder Cunha. Coogan's former campaign manager said his former boss is a bully.

"He actually stole Helda Cunha's signs," said Nicholas Alahverdian, Coogan's former campaign manager. He said he never reported it to the police department because Coogan "threatened me not to."

But Coogan claims he's being charged with three misdemeanors, including attempted larceny, receiving stolen goods and conspiracy, due to political reasons.

"I fired who is the acting city manager, who right now is the acting police commissioner, who ordered the department heads of the police department to charge me when they felt that there was nothing really there Monday, and they called me up on Tuesday and said, ‘We have to charge you,’" Coogan said.

The acting city manager, Tim Chapman, told NBC 10 he had no involvement in charges being filed against Coogan and said it was a police matter.

Coogan is due back in court in November.

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