On Saturday October 22, 2016, at 11:50 AM, I was on the way to the bank driving on Little River Turnpike in Annandale, VA. While stopped at the traffic light near Heritage Road, I witnessed a teenage boy in the car behind me hop out and run over to where a Trump campaign sign was staked in someone’s yard. He went up, yanked out the sign, and ran back to the car driven possibly by his sister (woman in early 20s). Both were minorities by their skin color, possibly Hispanic.
Realizing that I just witnessed a theft of yet another Trump supporters’ campaign sign, I got out of my car and went up to the car behind me. I pointed at the campaign sign that was now on top of the dashboard and steering wheel making any kind of driving hazardous. I pointed at the boy and then motioned with my hand for him to return the sign to the person’s yard. They refused, and the woman started demonstrating vulgar hand gestures at me. I again pointed at the campaign sign and the boy. The woman ignored me but starting honking her horn and locked her car doors. I politely knocked on her window, and the only response I got was more vulgar hand gestures.
I went to the front of her car and took two pictures, one of the thieves and the other of their license plate number. It was at this time that the woman started gunning her engine with tires screeching, threatening to run me over and crush me against my car which was in between her car and me. Fearing for my safety, I jumped back in my car and the female driver raced away driving with the stolen campaign still on top of her steering wheel.
I went to the H-Mart Plaza parking lot and called Fairfax County Police. I reported what I saw, including that I had taken two pictures of the perpetrators and their license plate number. The Dispatcher, Mr. Dang, said the Police will stop by my house for a report in about an hour.
Several hours later, the police arrived. An African-American Officer K. Bridgeman got out of the patrol car and said: “So what’s the problem?” I explained what had happened. He said:
Next time this happens, you shouldn’t confront the person, you should just call us.
I asked what was going to happen to the perpetrators, and his response was in effect nothing. “No crime has been committed. This is the season for these things to happen.”
I replied: “Stealing property out of someone’s yard is not a crime?” No, he replied, only if the homeowner witnessed it and filed a complaint. “I said, well, what about them threatening to run me over? He replied, well, they didn’t actually run you over, and it would be their word against yours.
Aren’t you at least going to find out who it is through the license plate and pay them a visit.
I opined to the Officer:
A teenage boy, who starts stealing something small may need something like an intervention by a police officer otherwise he might become bold and try to commit a bigger crime.
Officer Bridgeman replied:
Well, we don’t like to confront people over issues like this; it could lead to an escalation of the situation.
The officer had no interest in seeing my pictures of the perpetrators; he got back in his car and drove away.
Since I first reported this incident to the Republican Party, I’ve been flooded with comments from folks in Virginia and other states who’ve had their Trump campaign signs stolen from their yards. This is against the law, and it is a violation of our right to free speech.
If anyone has had a campaign sign stolen or destroyed, I strongly encourage you to contact the Fairfax County Police Department at: 703-691-2131.