They described themselves as an educational animal rescue farm for kids, but someone has been terrorizing the family-owned ranch since 2017, and now the FBI is offering a reward to find the culprit.
Over the last two years, the Rickety Ranch in Hollis, New Hampshire, has sustained thousands of dollars in damages to vehicles. A barn was burned and there have been multiple instances of animal cruelty, the FBI said in a press release.
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The family also has received multiple extortion letters in an attempt to collect $250,000 in exchange to spare the family and ranch from further damage or harm, and help the family settle an ongoing dispute with the town, the FBI said.
"It's been a tough, tough haul for them because the stuff has been constant and there are some days where it's one, two, three days in a row. Then there will be lull and then something else," Brian O'Hara, special agent in the FBI Boston division, told CNN affiliate WBZ-TV. "Some of the stuff has been significant and people have been lucky to not been injured or killed."
He told the affiliate a truck was charred during the barn fire and farm animals and pets were killed or injured.
As if the story wasn't bizarre enough, the sender of the extortion letters has written each letter in a rhyme or riddle, asking the family to pay up.
The FBI on Tuesday released one of the senders' grammatically dubious riddles and it went something like this:
"I saw your flag on your lawn
And time almost gone
I know your in
Just pay me know and you will win
It will be simple and fast
I left instruction under the glass
On your grass
From here o keep 50k cash on your a--"
An FBI flyer said one letter writer claimed to be able to settle disputes with the town of Hollis. The agency is still investigating and doesn't believe the family has any serious problem with the town, Kristen Setera, a spokeswoman for the FBI's Boston office, told CNN.
CNN reached out to the family, which declined to comment at this time. The FBI told WBZ that the family is living in fear and constantly watching their backs.
"The vicious shakedown of this family and the use of violence to intimidate them will not be tolerated. We're asking anyone with information about who is terrorizing them to come forward and share that information with us so we can put a stop to it and bring whoever is responsible to justice," said Harold H. Shaw, special agent in charge of the FBI Boston division.
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $10,000, and has asked the public to submit any tips through its portal, or contact the FBI in Boston at (857) 386-2000.
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