Caputo alleges dozens of threats received to him and family

East Aurora Police also discuss resources utilized to ensure political operative's safety

Mike Baggerman
May 01, 2019 - 3:00 am

UPDATE (January 11, 2020): Charges against Jeffrey Scharoun were dismissed in Orchard Park Town Court.

"It's been tough for him for sure," Scharoun's attorney, Michaelangelo Cieri, said. "There's no guarantee it was due to this by the timing was suspect. Obviously there was some people who have sent him messages through social media telling him what a degenerate he was. I know the complaining witness, Mr. Caputo, has spoken about my client on the radio and his own social media, which in my opinion, now that the case has been dismissed, was unwarranted. He's relieved he can move on from his life now and not have this hanging over his head."

EAST AURORA, N.Y. (WBEN) - It's been a whirlwind couple of years for Michael Caputo, but the "sheer hell" since 2016 isn't in the rear view just yet.

In an interview with us, Caputo said he and his family have been on the receiving end of 59 threatening messages since President Trump was inaugurated in 2017.

"They come in a variety of forms," Caputo explained. "Usually by social media. Sometimes by telephone. My wife even got a piece of a sniper rifle in the mail, which you can imagine can make her walks with our children in East Aurora a little fraught."

With Caputo's name mentioned in the redacted report from special counsel Robert Mueller, he said the threats and harassment have increased. A criminal summons was issued to Jeffrey Scharoun of Buffalo for aggravated harassment in the second degree while an Illinois man was also criminally charged recently. Those charges have since been dismissed.

"I've got an order of protection against (Scharoun)," Caputo said. "I expect to be threatened more often now before it actually dwindles and tapers off to nothing. It's the craziest of them that are the most incensed."

East Aurora Police Chief Shane Kreiger confirmed that there have been threats against the Caputo, including the mailing of a scope of a rifle. However, they could not locate any more information on who sent the scope.

"(On taxing resources on the department) It's just part of the job," Kreiger said. "It's not taking the majority of our manpower by any means. It's being addressed as complaints come in."

Kreiger said it's easier to investigate online threats against Caputo when someone uses their name as opposed to an alias. The police department has on occasion reached out to the corporate headquarters of Facebook and Twitter, but the chief said without subpoenas, their investigation can't get far.

East Aurora Police Chief Shane Kreiger. April 30, 2019 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

"He's on national TV so anytime people are out there in a debate, it's going to cause people to pick a side," Kreiger said. "People also have to understand when they make comments on social media, they can be held accountable if it's not appropriate."

While he was advised by loved ones to not get involved with the 2016 campaign, his meeting last week with President Trump is encouraging him to resume his role as a political operative.

"The president and the first lady have been paying attention to our family very closely," Caputo added. "We spent a good amount of time, me and the president, talking about (Sharoun's) threats against my family. We know that we're not alone now. We know these things are very important."

"Now I'm really eager to get back into the fight."

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