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Political passions lead to campaign sign thievery, trickery around San Diego County

Posted at 4:13 PM, Oct 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-29 20:43:12-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Less than a week before the election, there are reports of political yard signs being stolen and vandalized, and in some cases, appearing in yards.

Sunday night, just before midnight in a cul-de-sac in El Cajon, surveillance video shows a car driving slowly before it stops to let someone out.

"A shadowy figure, looks young, maybe 10 years old, gets out of the vehicle, runs in, and grabs a political sign," said Brandon Spaulding.

Spaulding says the sign being taken belonged to his neighbor and it read "Trump/Pence, Make America Great Again." That same night, Spaulding's sign, which had been vandalized days before, also disappeared.

The apparent thieves in the Sunday's thefts: a child and an adult.

"Very disappointed and frustrated ... being a terrible role model. As parents, you’re supposed to teach children the different between right and wrong. I was always taught to love my country, and part of that is freedom of speech. Respect people's rights to say what they want to say," said Spaulding.

Spaulding isn't alone. Local Republican Party officials say they've received more than a 100 reports of stolen Trump signs, a greater number when compared to previous presidential elections.

In Coronado, police responded Wednesday to seven homes, where yard signs reading "Racism Lives Here" appeared in front of the homes of Trump supporters who were displaying signs or flags.

It isn't just Trump backers being targeted. On the Nextdoor mobile app, ABC 10News found numerous examples of signs supporting presidential challenger Joe Biden stolen.

Just south of Balboa Ave., Margo Thomas woke up Wednesday to her Biden/Harris yard sign gone.

"To me, it just feels like you’re stifling free speech," said Thomas.

There is still no mistaking who Thomas is backing. A "California for Biden" sign still stands in her yard.

In El Cajon, Spaudling immediately purchased new Trump signs for his yard and for two neighbors.

ABC 10News reached out to the local Democratic Party officials for theft numbers and are waiting to hear back.

Campaign sign theft does qualify as misdemeanor petty theft, which carries with it a maximum penalty of six months in jail.