Sign thieves won’t deter man from expressing his opinion

(Photo: WOOD)
(Photo: WOOD)

BELDING, Mich. (WOOD) — New additions to the accusations being thrown around this particularly ugly election season as a Belding man says thieves have been taking the election signs out of his yard over and over. And like the candidates themselves, Don Calton says he won’t give up until the election is over.

Calton, 54, was just able to come home after he was involved in a crash on Sept. 11 that has him confined to a wheelchair for several months. When he got home to recover, he decided to get involved in the election.

“I put some signs up and then I thought my lawn-care guy took them down because they weren’t out there, so I asked him about them and he said ‘no, I didn’t touch them,” Calton said. “I went out and got some more signs, put them out, put three out next day they’re gone.”

And then…

“I got some more signs and the next day, they’re gone. I thought well, I’m getting tired of these people stealing the signs, so we put a little more up,” Calton said “You’re putting signs up and the next day they’re gone. Exactly, within 24 hours.”

Caltion said he is not going to let adversity keep him from expressing his opinion via yard sign.

“Yup, so I put a big one up today and I don’t think it’s going to fit in her car very easy.”

Calton said he also put up seven signs Saturday and if they are stolen “then tomorrow I’ll put up another seven.”

Calton is not alone. A Monroe woman came up with a unique way to discourage sign thieves.

24 Hour News 8 talked to law enforcement in Kent and Ionia counties who say every election is rife with reports of stolen and vandalized signs, and this year is not much different. Police say it is rarely the work of political operatives, but usually juveniles out for a lark.

Calton says he has a plan in place.

“We will catch whoever’s doing it and they will face the law,” he said.

He says it’s about more than property crime.

“They’re not going to infringe on my rights, if they’re voting for Hillary or Donald, that’s a person’s choice.”

Whatever the motivation, stealing yard signs is a violation of laws including theft, malicious destruction of property and trespassing. And you can’t vote if you’re in jail.