Mayor says vandalism to his home is meant to make him step down - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Mayor says vandalism to his home is meant to make him step down

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Sunset Beach Mayor Rich Cerrato had recently had a piece of his property damaged, and he says that each election season, someone or something has harassed him and tried to force him to step down. Sunset Beach Mayor Rich Cerrato had recently had a piece of his property damaged, and he says that each election season, someone or something has harassed him and tried to force him to step down.

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Weeks before voters head to the polls, a complaint about a candidate's property being vandalized is surfacing.

Sunset Beach Mayor Rich Cerrato had recently had a piece of his property damaged, and he says that each election season, someone or something has harassed him and tried to force him to step down.

A recent police report says that someone forcefully removed the irrigation pump in Cerrato's backyard, causing more than $100 worth of damage.

Cerrato is currently running for town council and says that this isn't the first time that he's been harassed for being outspoken. He says that in 2005, he was harassed by police for campaigning.

Then, in 2009, Cerrato claims that he was physically assaulted at a public event. Cerrato says he chose not to press charges in those cases, and that even though the latest incident is a tactic used to force him to step down, it's not going to work.

"It increases my motivation, stamina, and perseverance to continue what I'm doing," said Cerrato. "For most people, it would intimidate them but it just doesn't intimidate me. It has the opposite effect on me."

Police recommended that Cerrato get a surveillance camera for his property, which he plans to do.

Cerrato says he hopes the incident will be an example to others running for office.

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