Political lawn signs damaged, stolen in East Lyme ahead of November election

New London

EAST LYME, Conn. (WTNH) — East Lyme Police have received several reports of political lawn signs being stolen or damaged in town as election season is ramping up.

“One morning, I came out here and mine was gone,” said Jill Carini, of East Lyme, who had a Joe Biden sign outside her home. “It wasn’t laid on its side or somewhere else in the yard. Someone had physically taken it.”

Carini said it’s unsettling to know someone did that.

“First, it makes people very, very angry,” explained Carini. “Again, this is my opinion. Then, it makes you very, very sad because you’ve always felt safe in this community. I don’t feel as safe as I was.”

One local candidate said it happened to her, too.

“I felt really violated that someone would deface my sign because I’m doing this because I want to make a difference,” said Cate Steel, a Democrat running for State Rep. for East Lyme and Salem.

“Running against an incumbent is really difficult and you need to get your name out there,” said Steel. “When I call constituents and say, ‘I’m Cate Steel.’ They might say, ‘Oh! I saw your sign.’ That’s my first step in having them understand me a little more.” 

There’s now a push from both sides to put a stop to this. The East Lyme Police Department, East Lyme Democratic Town Committee, and East Lyme Republican Town Committee are pleading with the public to respect the rights of people and businesses. 

“It’s pretty universal, we don’t want this happening,” said Jason Deeble, Chair of the East Lyme Democratic Town Committee. “We want to exercise our [freedome to] vote and promote our candidate without fear or reprisal or retribution or intimidation.”

Deeble said if this happens in your neighborhood, reach out to him or someone in your own community. 

Meanwhile, East Lyme Police said stealing or vandalizing political lawn signs is illegal. If you see this activity happening, give them a call right away. 

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