Delaware GOP: Suspected thief who stole Trump signs caught on video

TOWNSEND — Delaware Republicans plan to contact the U.S. Inspector General’s office after claiming that a federal government employee was seen stealing political signs from a residence on Wednesday.

John Fluharty, former executive director of the state’s GOP, said surveillance video captured an alleged incident in which a Trump for President yard sign was allegedly removed by a U.S. Postal Service worker.

Seeking to identify the source of several stolen signs over the past few weeks the homeowner had installed a camera roughly five hours prior to the latest alleged theft, according to Mr. Fluharty on Friday.

In a statement released in the morning, the GOP said “We find this event to be disturbing on a number of levels.

vote-logo-2016“This behavior has become common practice for those who don’t support American values of limited government, strengthening our economy and improving Delaware’s failing public education, and it is sad. …”

Two surveillance video images were attached with the statement, which the GOP alleges showed a crime in motion.

Mr. Fluharty said while the alleged culprit does not reflect the performance of almost all public servants, the GOP hopes a criminal investigation is forthcoming.

According to Mr. Fluharty, he receives calls daily regarding sign issues throughout the state. Earlier Friday, he fielded a complaint from a Republican in northern New Castle County reporting 75 stolen signs since mid-August.

The regular sign thefts here are a microcosm of a political season that’s had a nasty tenor throughout the country, Mr. Fluharty said.

“This has become a pattern of behavior,” he said.

“Overall, political dialogue is in a very dark place now, even in Delaware where we’re known for our civility.”

The GOP referenced an earlier incident regarding vandalized La Mar Gunn for Lieutenant Governor signs and said: “It’s time for this to stop.” Also, Mr. Fluharty said “a bunch” of Colin Bonini for Governor signs on Del. 1 “have been slashed in half.”

The vandalism goes beyond the boundaries of an often hotly contested election cycle, the GOP said.

“It’s one thing for candidates and political parties to disagree,” the Republican statement read. “It is another for their supporters to engage in illegal activity.”

Mr. Fluharty doesn’t know the motivation for the supposed Townsend incident, and hopes that an investigation will determine a suspect and appropriate action.

In general, police said possible charges could include theft, harassment and criminal mischief.

“You would normally think this is the work of Democrats but I’m not going to go that far because there’s zero evidence that they were involved,” Mr. Fluharty. “I would love to pin this on the Democrats but there’s absolutely no reason to think that way at this point.”

The Republicans have sold up to 9,000 signs to supporters at low cost since mid-August, Mr. Fluharty said.

On Friday, Dover Police said they were aware of at least two candidate sign-related thefts, but could not immediately review 300 reported thefts of all types over the past two months to possibly identify any more.

Camden and Cheswold police said they’ve seen no issues with signs.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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