Police looking into stolen Trump campaign signs

Published 3:50 pm Thursday, July 7, 2016

By Shavonne Walker


SALISBURY — Police say there have been reports of stolen campaign signs and more could be on the horizon. Salisbury resident Ronnie Smith reported the theft of three Donald Trump campaign signs from his and neighbors’ yards.

Police Capt. Shelia Lingle said authorities were aware of the thefts, which are misdemeanors, and added that this sort of theft happens every election year. She suspects it may keep happening. She said destroying the signs is a misdemeanor damage to property offense.

Smith, who lives in the Country Club Hills neighborhood, said on at least three occasions — June 8, June 22 and June 24 — signs were stolen. Two of them turned up a week later vandalized and in a wooded area near his neighborhood.

Smith said as he told a police officer he understands this is a “petty misdemeanor crime, but if we don’t do something about it, it could escalate.”

He was told perhaps Trump opponents were stealing the signs, but Smith doesn’t buy it. He believes the thieves could be teens. Not only were signs stolen in his community, but also Forest Glen, located off N.C. 150.

Smith said one of his neighbors had a sign taken from her front yard near her porch, and she became concerned because the thieves were brazen enough to go onto her property versus the other signs, which were closer to the edge of Smith’s yard.

Even if the thieves are children, Smith doesn’t expect anyone to admit to it.

Smith’s main goal is to let people know it’s happening and to inform them that this is a crime. He placed a newspaper ad about the theft and a subsequent reward.

Smith said he made a contribution to the local Republican Party and received four signs. On one sign he taped an American flag to a corner and the ad to the other corner. It was the only sign that was not taken.

“Campaigns are getting nasty, and people are getting nasty too. People should respect a person’s political beliefs,” Smith said.