On Oct. 17, Maria Daly reported she had been robbed. Intruders had broken into her house in Millbury, Mass., and made off with some $10,000 in jewelry and other items while she and her husband were asleep, she told police.
Outside, Daly reported another alarming discovery: on the paneling on the back of the house, someone had spray-painted “BLM,” typically a reference to the Black Lives Matter movement.
“We woke up to not only our house being robbed while we were sleeping, but to see this hatred for no reason,” Daly allegedly wrote on Facebook that day.
From the start, Millbury Police Chief Donald Desorey sensed something was awry. For one, Daly’s husband, Daniel Daly, was a police officer — with a K-9 unit in the house, no less. Why would someone risk waking a cop and his police dog to steal jewelry?
“I felt that there was more to the story than basically met to the naked eye,” Desorey said, according to WCSH.
On Saturday, the chief was vindicated. Investigators found that Maria Daly had faked the entire thing — right down to the graffiti — and had managed to squeeze a confession out of her, WCSH reported.
“Basically we came to the conclusion that it was all fabricated,” Desorey said. “There was no intruder, there was no burglary.”
Daly is charged with filing a false police report and misleading a police investigation, CBS Boston reported. It is not clear if she has retained an attorney or entered a plea. Instead of arresting her, police opted to issue a summons for her to appear in court, according to WCSH.
Daly’s husband was cleared of any wrongdoing, Desorey said, adding that Maria Daly wouldn’t get preferential treatment for being the wife of an officer.
“I stress, Officer Daly has been exonerated at this time,” Desorey said. “I’ve seen no evidence indicating he had any knowledge of what was happening.”
If Daly’s intent really was to blame Black Lives Matter for a dubious property crime, she wouldn’t be the first.
Last year, a Whitney, Tex., family told police that someone had scrawled “Black Lives Matter” in spray paint across their pickup truck, claiming they were targeted because they had displayed the slogan “Police Lives Matter” in the window, as reported by The Washington Post. After reporting the graffiti, the family went on to say that the truck had been damaged, with the seats slashed and the glove box ripped off.
Police said the story didn’t add up. In September of last year, police arrested three family members and charged them with filing false police reports. The family has denied the allegations. Whitney Police Chief Chris Bentley told The Post at the time that the alleged scheme was “a way for them to make insurance money.”
In Daly’s case, too, police have suggested that there may have been a financial motive. Desorey said the family may have been experiencing some “financial difficulties” but declined to elaborate.
“I know something like this is devastating on the family,” he said. “I have empathy for the family and the defendant as well — I’m very familiar with her, and it is unfortunate set of circumstances that has taken place.”
Desorey did not comment on the meaning behind the spray-painted “BLM.”
“I did not draw any conclusions to what that would making reference to,” Desorey said.
To be sure, graffiti reading “BLM” and “Black Lives Matter” has shown up in many places in the two-plus years since the phrase has become a rallying cry for critics of racial profiling and police use of force. But the targets tend to be bigger than a house in the suburbs and often carry greater symbolic weight.
Earlier this month, someone spray-painted “Black Lives Matter” on the facade of the Trump International Hotel in downtown Washington, along with the phrase “No Justice” and the word “Peace” with a line through it, as The Post reported at the time. “Black Lives Matter” has also appeared in spray paint on Confederate memorials around the country.