Three charged after stealing “We support Blakely Police” and election campaign signs

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BLAKELY, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Three women are facing charges of theft and other related charges, after police say an on duty officer caught them stealing campaign signs.

Police say at least 13 signs supporting the Trump-Pence ticket were also stolen from the Blakely neighborhood near Second Street and Lincoln Avenue late Tuesday Night.

Neighbors who live in the area say it’s just a sign of the times.

Helen Auble wasn’t among those whose signs supporting Donald Trump’s reelection were plucked from her property but that doesn’t mean she’s unaffected by the crime.

“Sad. It’s just very, very sad,” Auble told Eyewitness News. “I can’t understand why somebody in their right mind would do that. It’s not like, you know, you’re not going to vote for them anyway just because you stole their sign.”

Blakely police say three women, each about 20 years old, prowled the neighborhood to make off with the political signs. With the election season heating up, they say they are not surprised by these actions.

“Consider the way things have been happening lately with this election, it’s not shocking to me at all. You see very, very strong opinions on both sides so it does not shock me at all,” said Blakely Police Department Chief Guy Salerno said.

It was right around 11:30 tuesday night when a Blakely Police officer on patrol spotted one of the suspects carrying signs and running to a car. After the officer investigated, he found out it wasn’t just signs supporting the Trump-Pence ticket that were swiped more than a half-dozen stolen signs promoted support of Blakely Police.

“The fact is it doesn’t matter if it says nothing on those signs. If it was a blank sign in somebody’s yard it’s somebody’s property. They stole it, therefore they are charged with theft.” Salerno said.

Morgan Grezch says she has no problem with opposing views but when it comes to swiping signs, she has a strong opinion.

“They should have kept their, you know, opinions to themselves and maybe left the signs alone. There was no need to take it,” Grezch said.

Paul Vanvestraut feels pretty much the same way.

“I definitely don’t think it’s right to steal or do anything to anyone’s property regardless of your side on the issue,” he said.

Police say because of the pandemic, the suspects will be arraigned either virtually or be ordered to appear before a magistrate at a later date.

Blakely police say by midday they only had three victims come forward to say their political signs were stolen.   They want to hear from anyone else who discovers their signs are missing.

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