Animal advocates accused of vandalism spree against fur industry
SAN DIEGO — Two animal advocates were arrested Friday on charges they went on a nationwide vandalism spree against the fur industry, including in San Diego County, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced today.
Joseph Brian Buddenberg, 31, and Nicole Juanita Kissane, 28, were taken into custody by the FBI in Oakland, but are expected to be tried in San Diego.
Prosecutors allege the two drove to San Diego two years ago and used paint, paint stripper, a super glue-type substance, butyric acid, muriatic acid and glass etchant to vandalize Furs by Graf, a retail furrier located in San Diego.
The activists also allegedly damaged the Spring Valley and La Mesa residences and personal property of the current and former owners of the business, according to the indictment.
To publicize their actions, the defendants drafted “communiques” describing their conduct and posted them on websites associated with more extreme animal rights organizations, the indictment alleges.
The defendants allegedly slashed the tires of a meat distributor’s truck in San Francisco; smashed windows and glued the door locks at a furrier business in Minneapolis; and vandalized and attempted to flood the Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, home of an employee of North American Fur Auctions.
“Whatever your feelings about the fur industry, there are legal ways to make your opinions known,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. “The conduct alleged here, sneaking around at night, stealing property and vandalizing homes and businesses with acid, glue and chemicals, is a form of domestic terrorism and can’t be permitted to continue.”
The defendants took a number of steps to avoid detection by law enforcement, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
According to prosecutors, the pair withdrew large sums of cash from their bank accounts immediately before setting off on a road trip, largely avoided the use of phones, and used only cash for purchases. They also stopped logging in to known online accounts and email, using public Internet computers and encrypted email instead, prosecutors said.