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Those stealing political signs could face fines

The thefts appear to be wide spread and not concentrated to one particular city or county.
Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 10:23 PM CDT
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Northeast Wis. (WBAY) - In a quiet Appleton neighborhood, everything is usually in its place; but earlier this week something was missing.

“I noticed our neighbor’s sign was gone before we turned the corner and then I said to my wife, ‘oh look our sign is gone.’ Then I looked down the street and I said, ‘hey, all the Trump signs are gone,” said Greg Siers, of Appleton.

He noticed the signs disappeared between Sunday and Monday and reported the thefts to the police.

Mike Moran, Chair of the Democratic Party of Brown County says Trump signs are not the only ones disappearing in northeast Wisconsin.

“I think based on the nearest count, about 20 signs have been taken. A bunch of Biden signs, either our yard signs, and our 4x4, but also some from some of the other candidates,” said Moran.

He says the thefts seem to be wide spread and not concentrated to one particular city or county.

“We’ve seen nothing that would so far make us think this is some kind of coordinated action,” said Moran.

The Brown County Sheriff’s Office says they’ve received about seven complaints of stolen political signs over the past few weeks.

They're taking this opportunity to remind people those signs should be placed on private property and not too close to a road or intersection.

If caught, the theft can also carry a fine.

“A typical penalty would be like a petty theft which is a misdemeanor in Wisconsin, or most of the municipalities have an ordinance against it. Those can range from $200-400 dollars on an ordinance ticket level,” said Lt. Kevin Pawlak of the Brown County Sheriff’s Office.

Lt. Pawlak says the sheriff’s office typically sees an uptick in political sign thefts during an election year, but it seems the trend is starting early.

Siers has since replaced his stolen sign and hopes he won’t have to again.

“It’s a shame that we’d have to take the signs in for the night or chain them down. That’s not the America I was born and raised in,” said Siers.

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