WESTERLY — An Iowa man who police said came to Westerly with the intent of visiting Taylor Swift has been charged after a call about a suspicious man at the Watch Hill Boat Yard led officers to discover more than 30 lock picks and other common burglary tools.
Westerly police on Friday charged 32-year-old David Page Liddle, of Des Moines, Iowa, with possession of burglary tools and possession of a prohibited weapon other than a firearm. He was held over the weekend in lieu of a $10,000 bond and formally arraigned on the charges Monday in Fourth Division District Court.
"He has a history — security guards at the home told us that he was already on a watch list because there were concerns he could pose a threat," said Westerly Police Chief Shawn Lacey. "It is our understanding that he may have visited other properties belonging to Taylor Swift in the past."
Westerly police said Liddle was taken into custody around 9 p.m. after Watch Hill residents reported a suspicious man at a picnic table near the boat yard, which is located near Pasadena Avenue off Watch Hill Road. When officers arrived, they said Liddle immediately got up and began walking away while carrying a backpack with an aluminum baseball bat sticking out.
The police were able to catch up with Liddle, who told them he had just arrived in town that day after taking a train from New York City. He said he had traveled to Nashville and Memphis before then coming here and was looking to "catch up with Taylor Swift."
"He kept telling us he knew her personally and was just coming to visit," Lacey said. "He said he was trying to launch his singing career and she had agreed to help."
The police spoke with security guards and one indicated that earlier in the day he saw Liddle on Beach Street while the guard was driving to work. Not long after, the guard told police Liddle walked by the front gate of Taylor Swift's Bluff Avenue property before walking away.
Due to concerns, including the presence of the bat, which could be used as a weapon, the police conducted a search of the backpack. The effort led to the seizure of more than 30 different lock picks, screwdrivers, a crowbar, a window-entry rake, a flashlight, several pairs of rubber gloves and other tools.
He was taken into custody without incident, the police said.
According to Rhode Island judicial records, he was unable to post bond and was remanded into custody at the Adult Correctional Institution in Cranston. He was also issued a no-contact order barring him from attempting to communicate with or traveling to any of Taylor Swift's properties. He was also ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation.