MORRISON – At least four instances of people stealing Democratic campaign signs from Morrison front yards were reported this month, the city's top cop said Tuesday.
The thefts, which spanned Sept. 7 to Sept. 18, only involved signs showing support for Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, Morrison Police Chief Brian Melton said.
"It's typical each election year to have signs taken or vandalized," Melton said. "But not to this extent, in that so many signs have been taken and have been specific to [Democrats]."
A pair of 10- to 12-year-old boys were responsible for the Sept. 18 instance, when around 3:45 p.m. they were spotted yelling and chanting political remarks while removing signs from yards, Melton said.
Officers caught up with the boys, put them in limited custody and released them to their parents, Melton said.
Suspects have been identified in the other instances, and officers are tracking their activity, he said.
Instances of campaign sign thefts in Morrison come after reports of similar thefts in neighboring Lee County, where authorities said between 70 and 80 Democratic Party campaign signs across Dixon, Paw Paw, Amboy and Nachusa were stolen over Labor Day weekend.
A billboard in Dixon asking voters to support a change in the state's income tax structure and to vote for 16th District Congressional candidate Dani Brzozowski and 90th District state representative candidate Seth Wiggins was also vandalized earlier this month.
Brzozowski and Wiggins are both Democrats.
A person caught stealing a campaign sign could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by less than one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
Committing damage to a sign, such as burning it, could also lead to trespassing or criminal damage charges.
Melton added that "outside of security parameters or a big mean dog in your front yard," residents displaying campaign signs should remain vigilant and pay attention to any suspicious activity such as vehicles or people stopping outside a house for an extended period of time.