NAMPA -- A Nampa man says he feels his freedom of speech is under attack after campaign signs backing presidential candidate Donald Trump were repeatedly damaged and stolen from his front yard.
Steven White, who lives on Pleasant Hill Drive, said a total of four signs have been taken or destroyed in a little more than a week.
He says he set up a video camera facing the yard after he and his wife returned home from an out-of-town trip to find their Trump sign "mangled." White went to the local GOP headquarters to get a replacement, which was promptly destroyed, he said.
"I'm exercising my freedom of speech, and these people are coming in here and invading my property and vandalizing, which is a crime," he said.
White says he was home when the camera captured a pair of teenage girls targeting the Trump sign again.
"The one comes and stands right there so she could see in and see if there's any movement, and the other one crawled across the ground and couldn't get the sign out, so she just bent it," he said.
White was done taking chances. He planted another sign right in front of the window with the camera. A second he placed out nearer the street, but ran fishing line from the sign to a pair of bells on his front porch. The idea was that anyone crushing or removing the sign would jostle the bells, making enough noise for White to rush outside and catch them in the act.
But Sunday night, another thief struck. The video footage shows a red car flipping a U-turn and pulling up to the curb. A passenger hops out and uproots the sign, throwing it inside the car.
White says he'll replace it again - and keep replacing it, all the way up to Election Day. Friends have suggested using dog feces or razor blades to keep would-be vandals at bay, but White dismissed the ideas as too extreme.
Still, he says it's a shame people are trying to take away the symbol of his support for a candidate.
"Having a political sign in your yard kind of gets the political process going," he said. "Other people may - it may start them talking about it."
Nampa Police Sgt. Tim Riha said police don't often deal with yard sign thefts, but most people - White included - rarely report them to police. White said he had not made an official police report, but he was thinking about it.
"If we're able to find the people that are stealing the signs or vandalizing the signs then there could be potential criminal charges, such as petty theft or malicious destruction of property," Riha said. "They are taking property or damaging property that doesn't belong to them, and again that would be considered a crime by our laws."
Riha said anyone who has their political sign stolen in Nampa should use the police department's online reporting tool to let officers know.
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