TOWN OF AMHERST (WIVB) — If anything, the 2016 presidential election has been divisive, for the candidates and for voters.
And so, when several Donald Trump campaign signs went missing from Charlie Tulumello’s front yard, he assumed it was just neighborhood kids playing a prank.
Never did he think the thief was a former administrator at a local college, and a PhD in his 60s.
After the thief struck twice, Tulumello decided to place a pair of trail cameras on trees in his front yard to catch any overnight action.
Three times, a man — and twice with his dog — walked onto Tulumello’s property and ripped a total of seven signs out of the ground.
“My wife was very uneasy at night,” Tulumello said. “And if you’ll notice, changed the camera around for the other angle, I put the special sign up there trying to warn these people. Didn’t work. This fella just kept coming.”
Tulumello tracked him down, quickly realizing he was his neighbor, living just a few blocks away. He then handed over all the evidence, including the videos, to Amherst police, who promptly made an arrest.
Dr. Norman Muir, the former vice president of academic affairs for Medaille College, was charged with petty larceny and trespassing. Muir’s LinkedIn page shows he was also the college’s undergraduate dean of academic affairs, the associate vice president for academic affairs at Keuka College near Ithaca and the assistant vice president for academic affairs at Bellarmine College near Louisville.
“I was aggravated, angry,” Tulumello said. “This person comes up on my property in the middle of the night. You don’t know what to think. I mean, these are stupid signs, but you’re coming onto my property in the middle of the night, stealing. That’s not right.”
Although Muir told police he currently works for a local college, he was replaced at Medaille in July, according to the college’s website.
Muir declined to appear on camera, but said last Thursday he stole the signs because “I was angry with Donald Trump and the way he ran his campaign.”
“I wish I wouldn’t have done,” Muir said. “It was stupid. I feel ashamed that I did it.”
Tulumello said the Erie County GOP has reached out to replace his Trump campaign signs.