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Unfortunately, in each election cycle the theft of political lawns signs becomes an issue across the country. For those of your readers who do not engage in stealing yard signs, I am sure it is hard to believe that people actually do this, but they do. What drives this behavior is unknown. Some may want the sign for their yard; it may be they dislike the candidate or the party, or, maybe it is just an opportunity to show off to friends. Regardless of the reason, this activity is a crime!
Theft of a small number of lawn signs would likely be classified as sixth-degree larceny. This is a class C misdemeanor, punishable by up to three months in prison, up to a $500 fine, or both (CGS §§ 53a-36, -42, -119, and -125b). Depending on the facts of a particular case, a person stealing lawn signs could also be guilty of trespass, which ranges from an infraction (simple trespass) to a class A misdemeanor (criminal trespass in the first degree) (CGS §§ 53a-107 to -110a). Infractions are punishable by fines only, rather than imprisonment, while class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in prison, up to a $2,000 fine, or both (CGS §§ 53a-27, -36, and -42).
If area residents would like to obtain a candidate’s sign or find themselves with unwanted signs, I encourage them to reach out to their political town committee chairman to arrange to get a sign or have the signs given back to their rightful owner, no questions asked.
Selectman Carolyn Linn
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