During a busy and ballot-filled 2012 election season, several Maple Grove residents shared stories of stolen political signs.
Incidents of theft and vandalism of signs crossed both sides of the aisle, although most of those reported were related to the marriage amendment that was on the ballot.
“We live on a quiet Maple Grove cul du sac and discovered our ‘vote no’ to the marriage amendment has been stolen from our front yard this morning,” Ann Turnham wrote in an email to Patch Nov. 5. “My mail box was also filled with vote yes propaganda including several bracelets and brochures. I called the Maple Grove non-emergency police line to report the incident and was told that they have been receiving a lot of reports of stolen ‘vote no’ signs and few reports of stolen ‘vote yes’ signs.”
As a response, Turnham wrote that she replaced the sign with a handmade one that read "Thou shall not steal. Vote NO. Don't limit the freedom to marry nor our family's right to free speech."
On Nov. 5, Patch also received an email from a reader who shared a picture of a home off of East Fish Lake Road that reportedly had a “Vote Yes” to the marriage amendment sign in their yard and had their garage door spray painted “Vote No”.
“This is disturbing and a disgrace to our democracy,” the emailer wrote to Patch.
Maple Grove resident Katie Howard wrote in an email to Patch she, along with several others in her neighborhood, had “Vote Yes” to the marriage amendment signs stolen shortly before Halloween.
"I understand people have different opinions and views on issues, but I think that's awesome! It's a beautiful thing that we're able to vote and express ourselves,” she wrote. “When someone steals personal property out of your yard in an attempt to silence your voice, it is just so rude. It ruins some of the coolness of the election process.”
From the Oct. 1 through Nov. 12, 2012, the Maple Grove Police Department had 12 incidents reported of vandalized and/or stolen political signs. Here’s a look at some, according to the incident reports provided by the Maple Grove Police Department:
- 18000 block of Weaver Lake Road. On Oct. 8, it was reported two political signs were stolen from a residential yard. “One was for Obama and the other for Bahensky.” No suspects. The same residence reported an Obama/Biden sign stolen Oct. 15.
- 8300 block of Zanzibar Court. On Oct. 9, it was reported a “Vote Yes for the Marriage Amendment” sign was missing a residential yard. No suspects.
- 16900 block of Weaver Lake Drive. On Oct. 9, the reporting party called police – stating he was the designed Republican Party member to put of political signs and an “unknown person” took at least 10 “Vote No” signs from area yards he had received permission from. No suspects.
- 16500 block of 82nd Avenue North. On Oct. 11, it was reported a “Vote No” sign was “taken” from the yard of a residential home overnight. No suspects.
- 14000 block of 87th Avenue North. On Oct. 12, it was reported two signs were taken from the front yard of a residential home, a “Vote No” to the Marriage Amendment and “Vote No” to both amendments sign. No suspects.
- 14000 block of 87th Avenue North. On Oct. 12, the theft of a “Vote No” to the marriage amendment sign was reported. No suspects.
- 13800 block of 89th Avenue North. On Oct. 12, reporting individual stated two “Vote No” to the marriage amendment signs were stolen from his property. No suspects.
- 9600 block of Annapolis Lane North. On Oct. 24, it was reported two signs were removed “from the rocks in front” of the house – “Vote Yes” for the Marriage Amendment and “Vote Yes” Voter ID signs. No suspects.
- 18000 block of 96th Avenue North. On Nov. 2, two residents in a townhome community reported a neighbor was “going around taking political signs out of peoples yards.” An officer reportedly responded to the call and spoke to the individual who stated “it is a violation of the townhome association rules to have political signs out.” According to the incident report, the officer told the woman regardless of association rules, she cannot enter the yards to remove signs and “in the future any association rule violations should be reported to the association.” All signs were returned and the woman reportedly apologized. No suspects.
- 7500 block of Lanewood Lane North. On Nov. 6, it was reported a “Vote No” sign was taken from the front yard of a residential home and “Vote Yes” pamphlets placed in the mailbox. No suspects.
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