More Trump/Pence signs go missing

Published 10:22 am Friday, October 28, 2016

By Jason Schoonover and Deb Nicklay

Linda Eppler has started taking her yard signs in support of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump inside at night to dissuade thieves after she had four signs taken from her 11th Avenue Southwest property.

Her parents, Lois and Ross Rockwell, have also had signs taken or spray-painted at their Eighth Avenue Southwest yard.

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“But my mom keeps putting them up; she’s pretty stubborn,” Eppler said.

Her mother even duct-taped a sign to a tree.

Those are just two of many such instances happening around Mower County, as Mower County Sheriff Terese Amazi and Republican volunteers say an estimated 60 Trump yard signs have been stolen and discarded.

Amazi released pictures Friday morning taken from what appears to be a trail camera of a man wearing a Houston Texans shirt and a Chullo hat taking Trump signs, and the sheriff’s office received another photo of a woman, estimated to be around age 30, also taking signs.

Amazi cautioned that taking political signs is crime and people caught would likely be charged with misdemeanor theft.

GOP volunteers Ron Grosland and Dave Huinker spoke out last month about the signs being taken, and they asked people to show more respect for their First Amendment rights.

But Trump, a New York businessman, has proven to be an outspoken, controversial and divisive figure during his rise from political outsider to the Republican nominee for president, and signs have continued to go missing from Mower County lawns.

One resident reported 10 to 12 signs taken over about a month and a half, according to Amazi.

GOP officials and Amazi say they’ve never seen this many signs taken during other campaigns, and they said other candidates’ signs are not going missing.

Grosland and Huinker have posted political signs in their lawns, both in Austin and when living in other communities, for many years and have never had a sign taken, but they’ve heard of Trump signs being taken in other communities too.

The Mower County GOP is the major supplier of political signs, but volunteers have said election signs are now in high demand and not easy to replace.

Grosland and Huinker say they respect the First Amendment rights of people of all opinions and want people to respect theirs too.

Amazi also reported that some people are taking funeral urns, possibly for the brass as scrap metal, at Cedar City Cemetery, but she didn’t know how many had been taken.