FAIR LAWN – A woman who found a string that looked like a noose in her front yard on Sunday morning now believes that she wasn't targeted.

Kelli McCloud told New Jersey 101.5 that she called police after making the discovery in her tree on Sunday morning. She also posted about it on social media, which drew the attention of Mayor Kurt Peluso

Police initially believed that the string had been left by a utility crew working on downed power lines, but Peluso disputed that after speaking with the utility companies, whose representatives insisted to him that their workers would not have left that behind.

But McCloud, who is Black, now believes that the string may indeed have been left by utility workers by accident.

“Whether it was a noose or not was always questionable. It was shaped as such. It looked like someone tried to maybe do it unprofessionally," McCloud said late Monday. “The police and fire department were here this morning and they were able to locate a piece of the rope in the wires above the tree where it was at. It was definitely something that was left by someone in the utility."

She said she and her husband, who is white and Jewish, watched as the piece of string was cut down.

McCloud said she was relieved that she was not being targeted and “no one was trying to send me a message.”

The 11-year resident of Fair Lawn and mother of two young children was appreciative of the support she has received since she posted about the knot on her Facebook page.

“This town really does rally around each other when they need it and it definitely helped. We were able to get answers on what it was,” McCloud said, adding that police still need to find out who left the string behind.

Peluso told New Jersey 101.5 that the three utilities reiterated to him on Monday that the string is not theirs and said the investigation is not complete.

“I sent that picture to Optimum/Altice and Verizon and they said they would never do anything like that. And when I spoke to PSE&G they said they’re more self conscious today about how rope is placed and leaving that overnight they would never do,” Peluso said.

Telecommunication crews often use the kind of rope to put fiber optic cables in place, a former Optimum executive told the Daily Voice Fair Lawn/Glen Rock.  The companies hire contractors who do not work for the utility.

Noose found in a tree in Fair Lawn backyard (Mayor Kurt Peluso via Facebook)

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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