He denies damage, but admits hating neighbors


A Town of Burlington man who told deputies he hates his neighbors is accused of drilling holes in their boat.

James R. Spaight, 57, was charged this week in Racine County Circuit Court with felony criminal damage to property and disorderly conduct for allegedly drilling 17 small-diameter holes in the hull and gas tank of his neighbor’s 2014 Alumacraft boat.

Spaight is also accused of using a pellet gun to shoot a hole in the taillight of their 2009 Ford F150 pickup truck.

The boat is valued at $3,500 to $4,000 and the taillight is worth $83, according to the owner.

According to the criminal complaint, a Racine County Sheriff’s deputy met with the neighbors at their Meadow Drive residence on Saturday and they showed him a surveillance video of a man resembling Spaight carrying a cordless drill and walking toward the area of the property where the boat is stored.

Although the man walked out of the view of the camera, the audio recorded “the distinct sound of a drill motor and the sound of it contacting metal,” the complaint says.

The neighbors then showed the deputy their pickup truck, which had also been damaged the previous day. A pellet from a gun remained in the taillight assembly and appeared to have been fired from directly across the street where Spaight lives, the complaint says.

The neighbors told the deputy that Spaight held a grudge because several years earlier they had hired him to do contracting work for their business, but eventually fired him because he showed up for work intoxicated, the complaint contends.

Court records show that Spaight has been convicted of drunken driving three times – in 1989, 2006 and 2010.

When he interviewed Spaight, the deputy noted that Spaight was wearing the same clothes that appeared in the surveillance video and had the same distinctive build and manner of walking as the person in the video.

According to the complaint, Spaight denied knowing anything about the damage to his neighbors’ boat and truck, even when told about the video evidence.

To read the full story see the Aug. 2 edition of the Burlington Standard Press.