putney co-op

A new affordable housing project is planned for a vacant piece of land next to the Putney Food Co-op, on Route 5 in Putney. 

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PUTNEY — An employee at the Putney Food Co-op said a man marching down the street near the store Friday afternoon with a flag that said “[Expletive] Biden” scared customers and put staff on high alert.

“There were reports that he had a weapon. I didn’t see it,” the employee said. “He was wearing a bulletproof vest and I guess the police stopped and talked to him but he wouldn’t speak to them, and there was nothing they could really do because he didn’t have the gun out or anything.”

The employee said staff at the co-op called police “and they said there was nothing they could really do, just be cautious, if he comes in the store then to obviously call.” The Reformer also received a voicemail from another person saying the man with the flag had a gun and bulletproof vest, and was trying to intimidate people who voted for President Joe Biden.

Sheriff Mark Anderson confirmed the Windham County Sheriff’s Office received a call about the incident and said he would have more details available Monday. Attempts to reach the Vermont State Police before publication were unsuccessful.

The incident was surprising for people in Putney, the employee said.

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“In a way, it’s domestic terrorism and again that’s part of the Trump agenda,” said Rep. Mike Mrowicki, D-Windham-4. “I’m not sure if anyone knew him or if he was local but it’s unfortunate that people have to be that crass, I think, and uncivil with their expressions.”

Mrowicki said he along with the town of Putney and other democrats have been “targeted lately by the radical right wing in Vermont” via the website True North Reports.

Mrowicki said in the last election, Donald Trump only received about 13 percent of the votes in Putney.

“That means a lot of Republicans did not vote for Trump as well,” he said. “I think in the whole state of Vermont, Trump only got 30 percent of the votes but the people who are pushing him and his policies ... those people are still hanging on to that Trump propaganda and they’re not going to let it go easily. And in Putney, we just don’t go for that. We’re trying to move Vermont forward. I think that bothers some of those Trumpsters.”

This story was updated at 7:03 a.m., Monday, Oct. 25, to correct the percentage of votes received by Donald Trump in Putney.