Chester County police find more than 100 stolen political signs in dumpster
"I had four signs up on my property here," said Arlene Talley, who says she's been a victim twice.
This story originally appeared on 6abc.
Police in Chester County are investigating after hundreds of missing political signs were found in a dumpster.
Tredyffrin Township police say an Apple AirTag allowed them to trace the reported missing political candidate signs to a shopping center on the 200 block of Swedesford Road.
Some of the victims say their mailboxes were smashed on the same day their signs went missing.
“I had four signs up on my property here,” said Arlene Talley, who says she’s been a victim twice.
Surveillance video from one of her neighbors shows the crime in progress on September 28. The video shows two people grabbing political signs off a lawn, throwing them in their trunk and driving off.
“I knew that other signs had been taken too, and I looked around, drove around, and all of the Republican signs are still there and it was just the Democratic signs,” said Talley.
“Unfortunately, almost every election cycle we go through this,” said Lt. Tyler Moyer, who noted while the crime is common, it’s not usually this extreme nor is it usually one-sided.
“This year more than other years, it seems like it’s caused more of a stir I think because things are so politically volatile in the country,” he said.
The county’s Democratic chair says it’s fortunate one of the signs had an AirTag, otherwise, they may have never been found.
“Do I recommend it? It kind of makes me sad to have to recommend it because why should we have to worry about people stealing from their property,” said Charlotte Valyo, the chair of the Chester County Democratic Committee.
Republicans in Chester County say they’re victims of sign stealing too.
Chairman Raffi Terzian said in a statement that he “condemns the theft and/or vandalism of campaign signs from private and public property and supports a full investigation by law enforcement to identify the perpetrators.”
Terzian said several of his party’s signs have been stolen from around the county, though he did not know a specific number.
Talley says she’s worried the crimes are escalating. The same night her signs were stolen, her mailbox was smashed too
“Let’s play fair. We’re not taking your signs. Let’s elect people on issues, not signs,” she said.
Police say stealing signs off of private property is a crime and perpetrators could face charges such as misdemeanor theft.
Your go-to election coverage
WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.