MCALLEN, Texas (KVEO) — A woman was caught on camera taking a campaign sign from the front yard of Congressman Vicente Gonzalez’s home in McAllen Sunday morning.
Officials with the Hidalgo County Democratic Party say the damaging or stealing of signs is a big problem in the Rio Grande Valley.
In the video provided by Congressman Gonzales’ staff, the unidentified woman is seen taking a quick look around before taking the sign out of the ground and then walking away.
Hidalgo County Party Chairwoman, Norma Ramirez says damaging or stealing signs is ridiculous, and calls the act disrespectful and criminal.
“It’s very shameful. It’s kind of like cheating on an exam or a test. It puts you at a very low standard because you’re not going to win or lose an election by stealing someone’s sign,” says Ramirez.
Ramirez says when she ran for re-election in March, she had about 50 signs stolen. She adds running for office is a sacrifice and the thefts or damaging of signs can hurt a candidate financially.
Ramirez says is better to stick to a positive on a campaign and use that time and energy to make calls for the candidate, or block walk to support them.
Gonzalez’s office says they filed a police report and will be providing it to CBS4/Local 23 when it is available, and charges are being filed and are forthcoming.
Congressman Gonzalez issued the following statement:
This election cycle is filled with passion and emotion, but the theft and trespassing have no place under any circumstance. There are serious policy issues that will affect the future of this nation. Stealing yard signs is petty, and does nothing to move this country forward.
Authorities say, if a campaign sign is valued under $100, that person could be facing a Class C misdemeanor, with a fine up to $500. If the sign is valued at more than $101 that person could be facing jail time and a fine.
Additionally, Gonzalez had this to say about this:
“I am saddened that a neighbor came onto our property unannounced and uninvited for the purpose of pulling political signs my wife had placed in our front yard. This election cycle is filled with passion and emotion, but trespassing, and mischief have no place under any circumstance. Our community is in the middle of a pandemic in which people are losing their lives everyday. This is the time when communities should be coming together. Intruding into private property and vandalizing political yard signs is petty and does nothing to move our community or country forward. As a neighbor you don’t have to like me or vote for me, but you do have to respect my private property.”