LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - With just two weeks until the November 3 election neighbors and political parties are seeing more and more yard signs being stolen.
Two empty yard stakes and a pole are all that are left on one side of Ken Donaghue’s yard. What held a four foot by four foot Trump 2020 sign on Saturday is no longer.
“I heard a commotion out front and somebody had jerked the sign off the metal poles and was running across the street to get in their car,” Donaghue said.
He yelled at the individual to leave it, but they got away. He said he isn’t the only one who has had Trump signs go missing.
“According to the vice-chair of the Angelina GOP, Donna, she mentioned to me a couple of weeks ago that they’d already recorded about 40 signs being removed,” Donaghue said.
It’s happening to those on the other side of the political spectrum as well. Shirley Layton says she was helping distribute signs. She put one in her yard and the next morning…
“The very next morning I looked outside to go get in my car to go somewhere and it was gone. I was shocked,” Layton said. “I was really shocked. I had heard about signs being stolen, and I don’t know, I just didn’t think it’d happen to me.”
Layton says she’s heard from friends and neighbors of signs that have gone missing.
“I think we should all treat each other with respect and remember that this is our First Amendment right,” Layton said. “That you’re not just coming across my yard and stealing a five-dollar sign, you’re trampling on my First Amendment rights.”
A detective with the Lufkin Police Department says stealing or tampering with a sign can result in fines of up to two thousand dollars, and time in jail.
“Be kind to each other. Remember that this is a criminal offense,” said JB Smith. “This is not a childish thing, this is a criminal offense that will have permanent repercussions.”
Smith tells people if they know of anyone taking or tampering with signs that they can report tips to crime stoppers or the Lufkin Police Department.