As Election Day nears, local law enforcement say they have taken reports of political signs being stolen.
City of Delaware Police Capt. Adam Moore said in an email Tuesday that the police department has taken a single report of a sign being stolen this year, but he added the department has taken reports of this nature in previous years.
Tracy Whited, the head of community and media relations for the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, said the DCSO has had calls ramp up in recent weeks.
She added the thefts are usual, especially when the presidency is up for grabs.
“We anticipate the calls will continue – and likely multiply – through Nov. 3, especially given it’s a presidential election year,” Whited said in an email Tuesday.
Moore and Whited said that individuals who are caught stealing signs could face a range of charges, including theft, criminal damaging, disorderly conduct, and even trespassing if an individual went onto private property to remove or damage the sign.
Moore said city ordinance permits political signs on private property, and the only reason authorities would remove a sign is if it was in the way of a right of way.
“There are multiple restrictions in city code regarding the placement of signs on public property and/or right of way; generally, these areas are off limits,” Moore said.
He added a related issue is that signs are sometimes placed on public property, not private property, and are removed by appropriate parties.
“There are also many homeowners associations in the city that restrict signs through their association rules,” Moore said. “Occasionally, we will receive a complaint whereas the sign may have been removed from a spot where it was not permitted, but to the complainant, it appears to have been stolen.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.