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Authorities looking for suspect who smashed doors of Comal County Democratic Party office

Surveillance video shows a woman with a shovel go up to the door of the facility and smash it twice. Police have now identified the suspect.

SAN ANTONIO — The Comal County Democratic Party is reporting vandalism at its headquarters in New Braunfels.

Surveillance video shows a woman with a shovel go up to the door of the facility and smash it twice. Stacey Osborne, Communications Chair for the Democrats of Comal County, said it happened early Tuesday morning.

"It is disturbing that someone felt the need to do that," she said. She smashes it once. And then she smashes it again.”

Below is the statement from police Wednesday night:

The City of New Braunfels Police Department received a call yesterday morning, January 11, 2022, reporting vandalism at the Comal County Democratic Party Headquarters on West San Antonio St. The crime was classified as Misdemeanor-level Criminal Mischief and the reporting party was instructed to file their police report online, which they did. This process is used when the dollar amount for a criminal mischief report is classified as a Misdemeanor, which per state law is less than $2,500. All online police reports are reviewed by a police officer for the potential for further follow up and investigation. This report is currently being processed and will be reviewed for the presence of potential evidence. Our online reporting tool gives residents the ability to immediately file a report while allowing officers to remain available for calls that require an on-site response such as traffic accidents, domestic disturbances, and other in-progress calls.

The building on West San Antonio Street in New Braunfels is home to three different democratic organizations, such as the Comal County Democratic Party, Democrats of Comal County, and Democratic Women of Comal County.

"This is just over the top and really disappointing," Osborne said.

Osborne said they don’t understand why anyone would do such a thing.

"So, we really are disappointed that somebody felt that they were trying to make a point that they had to do it this way," she said. Because there are many other ways to show your disagreement.”

Osborne said the damage cost more than a $1,000, and they hope to replace the door soon. In the meantime, she said the work continues for the volunteers as this is a big election year.

Credit: New Braunfels PD

New Braunfels police provided an update on Thursday, identifying the suspect who they say was arrested after they received reports of a woman throwing rocks at vehicles at Green Valley Road and FM 1044 on January 12.

"Officers arrived in the area and made contact with 38-year old Valerie Jean Riedel of New Braunfels, who was subsequently arrested for Public Intoxication and taken to the Guadalupe County Jail," police said. "Based on a number of factors, to include the clothing she was wearing at the time of her arrest, it was determined that Riedel was the person responsible for the recent vandalism at the Democratic Party Headquarters."

Riedel has been charged with Class A Misdemeanor Criminal Mischief, punishable by a fine of up to $4,000 and/or up to a year in jail. She is currently wanted by the New Braunfels Police Department. 

"We very much appreciate the quick response from the New Braunfels Police Department and their hard work identifying the person responsible for this damage," Party Chair Marilyn Aden said in a statement Thursday night. “We also appreciate the help of the local and national media in helping to bring attention to this case. It is our hope that this was an isolated incident and that we can continue to do the work we do for the Comal County Democratic Party without further disruption. We are grateful that we live in a community that appreciates civil discourse and rejects this type of violent behavior.”