In Des Moines, Iowa, people stole Susan Rye’s Hillary Clinton yard signs so many times that she finally taped one to the inside of a window in her house.
“It is annoying because I put them out there for a reason, and someone is taking them,” Rye told KCCI 8. “Who would do that?” Rye said. “I mean, come on!”
On the other side of town, Trump supporter Jeff Miller had to put his Trump sign on top of a 40-foot ladder to keep it safe after three others were stolen from his yard.
“That’s just wrong,” Miller told KCCI 8. “All kinds of wrong. It’s American. Freedom of speech.”
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Trump and Clinton supporters across the country are using a variety of deterrents to stop people from stealing and defacing their yard signs this season. Anecdotal evidence suggests that Trump signs are the most popular target.
A viral video making the rounds this week shows two young men in Kings County, Calif., driving around and stealing Trump signs from several yards, according to the Fresno Bee.
In Rock Island County, Ill., “it’s almost an epidemic,” Republican committee chairman Bill Bloom told the Dispatch-Argus in Illinois. “Masses of Trump signs are being stolen.”
Every day people walk into the county’s Republican headquarters in Moline needing replacement signs, he said. He has replaced his neighbor’s Trump sign three times.
“We’re encouraging people to take them in at night,” Carol Crain, vice chairwoman of Scott County, Ill., Republicans, told the Dispatch-Argus.
In Amherst, N.Y., Trump supporter Charlie Tulumello set up cameras on trees in his front yard to catch whoever was stealing his signs.
He thought it was neighborhood kids.
The sign thief was a neighbor who should have known better: Norman Muir, former vice president of academic affairs for Medaille College in Buffalo, according to WIVB in Buffalo, N.Y.
Cameras caught Muir in Tulumello’s yard three times; he had his dog with him a couple of times.
Muir, who was charged with petty larceny and trespassing, told WIVB he took the signs because he “was angry with Donald Trump and the way he ran his campaign. It was stupid. I feel ashamed that I did it.”
Frustrated Trump supporters have taken things into their own hands to keep thieves away.
After losing several signs to thieves, Ray Gilbride in Bellingham, Wash., hooked his signs up to an electric fence.
“It’ll light you up a little bit,” he told KIRO radio. “Especially if you’re standing in wet grass.”
His surveillance camera caught one woman trying to make off with the electrified signs.
“This young lady came running through, and she grabs the signs, pulls them out, and that’s where you can see plain as day, the jolt hit her a little bit,” he said.
“She just stopped, just a dead stop, and soon as the pulsing was done, she kinda got her senses and ripped them out and took off running down the street. But it was a pretty funny video.”
Gilbride said he checked with police to make sure he wasn’t doing anything illegal. “It would have been different if somebody hooked it to a 110 (volt) outlet and watched somebody get hurt,” he told the radio station.
Trump supporter Arthur Gonsalves in Andover, Mass., also tried to get even with the people who kept stealing his signs, but his plan backfired in spectacular fashion.
A few days after he taped an ominous-looking black box to the homemade Trump sign in his front yard, police came calling to investigate the suspicious device, according to the Eagle-Tribune in North Andover, Mass.
They set up a perimeter around his house and called in the state bomb squad.
But the squad was called off when Gonsalves, 75, explained that he had rigged up an old stereo equalizer after two of his other Trump signs were stolen.
He had written “booby trap” and “danger” on the box.
Gonsalves told the newspaper he had the same problem in the 1980s with people stealing his Ronald Reagan signs.
Police did not file charges against him. But in Kings County, police arrested the two teenagers who made the video of themselves stealing Trump signs from yards, warning people that sign thieves will be prosecuted.
Other Trump yard signs in Kings County have been spray painted with profanity.
“This is a lot more deliberate vandalism than we’ve ever seen in the past,” local farmer Jim Verboon, a Vietnam veteran, told KSEE in Fresno. “We’re not going to quit. We’ll keep putting them back up.”
Jerrald Hawkins got so fed up after thieves stole his fifth Trump sign that he spent six hours last month mowing and cutting the word “TRUMP” right into his front lawn along Main Street in Cicero, Ind.
The giant “sign” takes up a 100-foot-by-200-foot section of his yard.
“It’s more of a protest of all the thefts of the Trump signs that’s been going around,” Hawkins told Fox 59 in Indianapolis.
“I decided to take matters into my own hands. It’s the greatest country on earth. I haven’t had a single complaint other than online internet trolls that say they’ll come burn it down.”
He did have one regret, though, he told the TV station.
“I need to apologize to Governor Pence. I ran out of yard, so I couldn’t get his name down there,” he said.