via NBC New York
A Virginia man accused of stealing two signs from parks honoring victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and calling a victim’s family to say the Newtown shooting was a hoax has been arrested, police said Friday.
Andrew David Truelove, 28, was arrested in Herndon, Virginia, with the help of police in Connecticut.
Truelove is accused of stealing a memorial sign for 7-year-old Grace McDonnell from a park in Mystic, Connecticut, and another for 7-year-old Chase Kowalski from a park in Mantoloking, New Jersey. Both signs were stolen about a month ago.
After allegedly stealing the sign from the park honoring McDonnell, he called the slain girl's mother to say her daughter "never existed" and that the shooting was a hoax, according to one of the playground's supporters.
Herndon police told NBC Washington that Truelove may be a conspiracy theorist who believes that the Sandy Hook school shooting was staged to trigger stricter gun laws. He is banned from a school property in Herndon, according to police.
Chaz Pazienza, a blogger at The Daily Banter provided information which led to the arrest.
As we reported here last week, someone claiming to have stolen the signs contacted me and e-mailed pictures of the missing panels, boasting that he had taken them and then called the families of both McDonnell and Kowalski to taunt them by saying that their children had never actually existed and the Sandy Hook massacre was nothing but a hoax. I passed along all the information this person had sent me to the police department in Stonington, Conn., which was working the case. I’ve been in contact with detectives there several times since.
It turns out the photos that we received were loaded with metadata, including geotags, which led Stonington to contact Herndon, where many of the pictures were apparently taken.