Man ordered to stay away from Port city department

·2 min read

Oct. 13—NEWBURYPORT — A Palmer man accused of threatened to burn down City Hall avoided jail time Tuesday when a threatening to commit arson charge was continued without a finding for a year.

Jeffrey Lachut, 33, made his threat last December after the city shut down its skate park due to COVID-19 concerns. City officials closed the skate park, located behind Rupert A. Nock Middle School, in early December after receiving numerous complaints of people not wearing masks and not practicing social distancing. Shortly after closing the park, city workers partially filled it with water in a further effort to dissuade people from using it.

The skate park reopened less than two weeks later.

In court Tuesday, Lachut admitted a judge or jury could find him guilty of the charge. Judge Jane Prince then ordered him to stay away and have no contact with the Newburyport Parks Department — which oversees the skate park. If he abides by those conditions and stays out of trouble with the law, the charge will be dropped after a year.

Court documents show that on Dec. 2 about 5 p.m. Lachut left an expletive-laden voice message with City Hall regarding the city's decision to flood the skate park.

"Hi, I am a concerned resident and I just want to know why the (expletive) my tax dollars are going to pay to flood the Newburyport Skate Park," Lachut said in the voice mail.

He went on to demand the city fix the problem or he would "come down" to City Hall and burn it down.

But, according to Newburyport police Inspector Christopher McDonald's report, Lachut was not a taxpayer and in fact had no connection to the city at all. Palmer is about 107 miles west of Newburyport and roughly a 25-minute drive from Springfield.

McDonald later learned that Lachut was an avid skateboarder with an email account that started with the term "skaterpunk."

Lachut seemed to implicate himself on the skate park's Instagram site when he left a post admitting he "lost it on them on the phone" and threatened to drive to the park and "drain it before it freezes," according to McDonald's report.

McDonald was able to track down Lachut through the phone number associated with the voice mail and asked if he had called City Hall about the skate park.

"Mr. Lachut became very animated and excited and explained that the City of Newburyport was damaging the park by putting water in the skatepark," McDonald wrote in his report.

Lachut denied threatening to burn down City Hall but admitted he called the city regarding the skate park. He also confirmed he had no ties to Newburyport.

Dave Rogers is a reporter with the Daily News of Newburyport. Email him at: Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.

Dave Rogers is a reporter with the Daily News of Newburyport. Email him at: Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.

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