UPDATE: The Fair Lawn woman who found a piece of string in a disturbing shape outside her home said it belonged to a utility company and wasn’t a noose.
Police and firefighters “were able to locate a piece of string in the utility wires that matched [it],” Kelli McCloud’s said Monday. “Apparently, some moron with a utility company did it and failed to remove the rope."
Authorities were still trying to determine exactly who that was and what company the person works for.
A former Optimum executive told Daily Voice that telecommunication companies "use that kind of rope to pull the new fiber lines in the entire footprint.
"They are doing a lot of building out of their system," he said. "They would not know if the crew left it or not since they are using contractors and not employees to build out the system.
"With so many different contracting companies being used to build out the new fiber network and answer service calls, there is no way to know if a contractor left it or not."
At the very least, McCloud said she and her family were "relieved" to get some resolution to what had become a firestorm over what the string actually was.
“I’m just glad it wasn’t someone in town messing with me,” she told Daily Voice Monday afternoon.
Authorities "assured me that I did the right thing to report it,” McCloud also said.
The turmoil began after the well-respected herbal and holistic health clinician posted a photo of the string on her property on Facebook. It generated nonstop social media buzz and quite a bit of uncivility among the various comments.
McCloud said her family reported the incident to police and then used pruners to cut down the string, which she said was tied in two spots to the tree about seven or so feet off the ground.
"It was a very thin gauge of twine, about 2mm thick," she said. "Not industrial looking. More like packing style polypropylene."
Some pointed out that the loop appears to be no more than a twist in the string, which is secured and not draped. It also doesn't have the "hangman's knot" that creates the noose effect -- but, rather, a slip knot often used by contractors and utility workers.
Others have cited the case of what originally was believed to be a noose found in the garage of black race-car driver Bubba Wallace but was actually a pull rope that was in place before the stall was assigned to him.
Borough police said Sunday that they were investigating the discovery in the Warren Point area but that it appeared to be the kind of string used by utility companies to secure wires while conducting repairs.
"We do not believe this is a hate crime but a rope that was put up by a utility company to help with utility wires that had been down in the area," Sgt. Brian Metzler said at the time.
Detectives were contacting any and all utility companies and county and state agencies that could have been working in that area, while looking for matching string used to secure wires, he said.
Fair Lawn Mayor Kurt Peluso said he wasn't buying it.
The mayor said he "heard back" on Monday from Altice/Optimum, "and the rope is not theirs."
"Yesterday [Sunday] I spoke to PSE&G and Verizon and both confirmed they did not put up the rope," he added. "The rope was not from a utility company or the borough.
"I also walked around the neighborhood and could not find any rope attached to any wires," Peluso said.
He promised residents that authorities were doing "everything we can" to find whomever put it there.
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