Posted at: 10/03/2012 6:41 PM
By: Dan Conradt
Yard Sign Vandalism Increases
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- It happens every couple of years at about this time. Five weeks before the election, it's starting to happen more often.
And on Wednesday morning, Rich Fischer found something disturbing in his front yard.
"Our sign had been vandalized,” the southeast Austin resident told us, displaying a yard sign covered with red spray paint. “Crossed out the ‘man and woman’ and had said ‘no’ instead of ‘yes’ to the amendment that's coming up in November."
"This year it's been fairly quiet, but we have received some reports of signs missing or vandalized," said Austin Police Chief Brian Krueger.
And on Wednesday morning, Rich Fischer wasn't alone.
"It was done at Queen of Angels church also, and some other locations in Austin," Fischer told us. “They were all vandalized very similar to this one."
“Obviously they belong to a candidate or a cause, and somebody actually owns those signs, so there is a victim there," said police chief Brian Krueger.
“They're expensive,” added Mower County Sheriff Terese Amazi, who faces election every four years herself. “Each one of those big ones can cost 15 dollars apiece, and those small yard signs five, six, seven."
And for Rich Fischer, one of the things that sets America apart from much of the rest of the world is the right to express your opinion ... at the ballot box and in your front yard.
"It's not a republican or a democratic issue, it is the issue of free speech. It is our private property, and we have the right pretty much to do what we want on our property, especially with signage."
“Obviously if we catch whoever's doing that they will be prosecuted for vandalism or the actual theft of the sign itself," said Austin Police Chief Brian Krueger.
“And certainly you can be cited with trespassing if you're seen, criminal damage to property and that's something that's just unnecessary, leave them alone," said Mower County Sheriff Terese Amazi.
“I think I'm going to leave the sign as it is, rather than invite more vandalism on another sign," Rich Fischer told us.
Anyone with information about the recent yard sign vandalism is asked to contact the Austin Police Department.