Sheriff: Increase in thefts of political campaign signs across Commonwealth

Sheriff: Increase in thefts of political campaign signs across Commonwealth

NEW KENT CO., Va. (WWBT) - The New Kent County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after political signs were taken from homes across the county.

Between Oct. 18 and 19, signs were taken from the yard of a home in the 11000 block of Kings Pond Drive. Signs were also removed from other yards in the Brickshire neighborhood, and homeowners in the east and west ends of the county were also hit.

“They’re angry, they’re concerned, they feel violated,” said New Kent County Sheriff Joe McLaughlin, Jr. “They wonder if someone is going to do that will they also do damage to their personal property - vehicle, home, landscaping, that type of thing.”

Nearly 10 political campaign signs stolen in a matter of three weeks and those are just the ones deputies have reports on. So far the sheriff does not think the crimes are connected, and he knows New Kent is not alone.

“It seems like it has picked up in jurisdictions around us as well,” McLaughlin said. “Across the Commonwealth, the numbers are increasing of this type of incident.”

Earlier this month, a man was caught on camera pulling up several signs in Louisa County. The Sheriff’s Office there was seeking help in trying to identify him.

Now in New Kent, the sheriff is calling on his own citizens for help.

“We’ve asked that if they have video available, we have access to the Ring program and the Axon body camera neighborhood program... you can upload any video information that you may have,” McLaughlin said.

If and when the thieves or vandals are caught, they could face a class one misdemeanor.

“Which means you can be put in jail up to one year and a $2,500 fine or a combination of both,” McLaughlin said.

NKSO INVESTIGATING THEFTS OF POLITICAL CAMPAIGN SIGNS New Kent Sheriff's Office is currently investigating the theft of...

Posted by New Kent County Sheriff's Office on Friday, October 23, 2020

The sheriff also hopes to prevent this situation from escalating to something more serious.

“We want to put an end to it before maybe a landowner or property owner sees it happening and there’s an altercation between the party taking the sign and the property owner,” McLaughlin said. “We want to try and avoid that at all costs.”

Anyone with photo or video evidence is asked to submit it here. Residents can also call the sheriff’s office at 804-966-9500 or Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000.

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