Political signs vandalized in Fluvanna

By Heather Michon

With the general election now less than two months away, political yard signs are going up all over Fluvanna County.

And in some cases, they are being met with vandalism.

Darrell Beyers, head of the Fluvanna Republicans, said he’s now heard multiple reports of Republican yard signs being damaged or destroyed.

Sign damage is something that happens every election cycle, said Beyers, although never at “this level or this magnitude.”

Major David Wells of the Fluvanna County Sheriff’s Office says their office has received 19 complaints for sign damage and four reports of sign theft. Wells also said that it seems earlier and more frequent than previous years.

Beyers said that some of the signs have been “slashed, maybe by a boxcutter” or similar implement. Others have had the “T” cut out of the word “Trump.” In one incident, a supporter had a row of ten-yard signs and a flag damaged by vandals.

Beyers said there might be some coordination at play. “There were some social media posts by some individuals about destroying signs,” he said.

Wells confirmed that there was a video circulating that appeared to show a number of young offenders damaging Trump yard signs. “We are currently investigating those offenses and attempting to identify the involved parties.”

Two political signs were destroyed at Crofton Plaza, said Greg Schlater, part owner of the plaza. One was a 4×8 foot Trump/Pence sign, the other a 4×4 foot Trump, Gade, Good sign. “It saddens me to think this kind of violence and hatred could happen in our county. These actions need to stop and will not be condoned. If you are not sure how to vote this November, then just look around you at the differences between the two parties. If you are still not sure then pray to our Almighty God for the wisdom, knowledge, and clarity on who to vote for. Only one side is willing to put a stop to the hatred and violence. As it has been said many times, an ignorant vote is worse than no vote at all! ”

Fluvanna Democrat Su Wolff said that the day after she learned that Trump signs had been damaged, “an equal number of [Democratic] signs were taken away or vandalized,” including one of the large road signs.

She stressed that this kind of behavior was not condoned by local Democrats, and that everyone in the community should work to respect each other’s political viewpoints and their property.

“Signs are private property,” said Wells. “Given that the value of the signs is under $1,000 — the new felony threshold — stealing a sign would be misdemeanor larceny, damaging one would be misdemeanor property damage. Depending on the property, there could also be trespassing charges. All would be Class 1 misdemeanors.”

The penalty for a Class 1 misdemeanor includes up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.



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