Surveillance video captures thief stealing political signs from Linn County lawns

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HIAWATHA, Iowa (KCRG) -- Someone is stealing political yard signs in Iowa House District 67, an area that covers portions of Hiawatha, Robins, Cedar Rapids, and Marion.

Both the Republican incumbent, Rep. Ashley Hinson, and her Democratic challenger, Eric Gjerde, posted to Facebook Sunday that over the weekend dozens of signs have gone missing.

“So someone/people went and stole all my signs from a whole neighborhood last night,” said Hinson in her Sunday post. “I'm told by someone who saw their sign stolen from their yard that the group was in a dark SUV and a group of ‘young people’ were jumping out and grabbing them.”

Gjerde wrote something similar on his “Eric Gjerde for Iowa” Facebook page, saying he knows of “roughly 40 signs stolen from homes in our community over the weekend.” He went on to empathize with his opponent, Hinson, experiencing the same frustration.

“It has come to my attention that our opponent has had yard signs stolen as well,” Gjerde said online Sunday. “Stealing yard signs is not an appropriate way for anyone to engage in the political process regardless which candidate you support.”

Hinson said the latest round of thefts came after someone, last weekend, removed nine signs from her yard to another location, leaving some of them too damaged to be further used.

“What people who steal these don't understand is: 1) They are driving the cost of elections up,” said Hinson. “My campaign now has to spend money (which I have to raise) to replace those signs. They are anywhere from 3 to 5 dollars apiece, when you include the steel posts to put them in the yard."

Hinson went on to point out that removing a yard sign won’t likely change the vote of the homeowner and that taking the signs is illegal, a misdemeanor offence in Iowa.

“That would look pretty bad on the record of someone trying to get a job after they graduate from college,” Hinson said in her post. “It's just a dumb chance to take to play a prank or make a statement.”

In her post, Hinson asked for donations to help cover the cost of replacing the yard signs. Gjerde told users to contact his campaign if someone is in need of a replacement.

“Please,” he wrote, “let us all get back to talking about issues and how we can make our state work for all Iowans!”

Election Day is less than a month away, November 6.