(WIVB) – Dirty politics isn’t just happening on the campaign trail, it’s also making a mark on front yards across Western New York. Viewers on both sides of the political spectrum reached out to News 4 to say thieves are stealing and vandalizing their lawn signs.
“Whether or not I have a sign there that supports Joe Biden or if I have a sign there that says I love dogs. What if somebody doesn’t like dogs? Does that mean they have the right to come on my property and take it? It’s still trespassing to come on my lawn and take it,” said Orchard Park resident Darleen Stry.
Stry placed a Joe Biden sign on her lawn to show her support for the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. Expect she noticed one day that it was missing. She eventually found her sign down her street and torn in half.
“People say well you shouldn’t have signs because it makes you a target,” she said. “Why does it make it a target? You know, why are they so wrapped up about what I have on my lawn? You worry about your lawn.”
People all across Western New York are having their signs stolen.
Susan Vriesen in Lancaster put a President Donald Trump sign on her lawn Monday afternoon. She says not even a day later the sign was gone.
“This morning while I was up early, I start work at 6 a.m. and when I looked out my front window I realized someone had already stolen my Trump sign,” she said. “It was a matter of hours that it had disappeared.”
Over in Tonawanda, Alexis says she’s had her Trump signs stolen six times and even managed to catch people in the act.
“It’s very very frustrating I would never steal from anybody,” she said. “I think it’s wrong. If you don’t support that candidate that’s fine I respect everybody’s opinions but stealing? I draw the line.”
She went on to say, “they think that if they steal our signs we’re going to change our mind? I don’t know. I’m just going to keep putting my signs out.”
The Niagara County Sheriff’s office released a statement on Tuesday saying they’ve recently received several reports of political signs being stolen. The sheriff’s office added that it is a crime to remove someone’s sign off their own property.
“Which to me is not the American dream. The American dream is you should be able to do and say and think whatever you want as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else you’re fine,” Stry said.
Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.