The Buena Vista Police Department took reports from six different properties over six consecutive days regarding the theft of signs from private property.
“In one incident, the citizen wanted to make us aware of the theft, but did not want a report. In one incident, a young lady was caught and admitted to removing a sign, but the homeowner did not want to pursue charges, and the sign was returned,” said Buena Vista Police chief Dean Morgan. “In four other incidents, unknown suspects took signs from the yards of Buena Vista citizens.”
With a major election approaching in the next 2 weeks, many residents throughout the town and county are expressing their First Amendment rights by displaying signs supporting their preferred candidates.
Morgan said that the stealing of signs is “not only irresponsible and disrespectful behavior, but it is also criminal behavior.”
In addition to theft, entering onto private property to take the signs is trespassing, Morgan said.
“When property owners are willing to press charges, the officers of the BVPD will issue summonses into court for anyone caught engaging in this illegal activity,” Morgan said.
“The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees a free expression of ideas, and stealing signs undermines this right, and it accomplishes nothing,” Morgan said.
“We ask that if you see anyone engaging in this behavior, or know about anyone engaging in this behavior, that you call the Police Department at 719-395-8654.”