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San Juan County Law enforcement to monitor political signs after theft/vandalism

Political party chairs ask residents to stop vandalism/theft

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
  • Farmington police on Oct. 14 made a post to its Facebook page, stating officers are monitoring political signs as the Nov. 3 general election approaches.
  • "We believe those signs are targeted because people seem to have extreme emotional reactions to politics in general right now," Brown said in a statement.
  • Anyone with information or witnessed damage and/or theft of political signs can call non-emergency dispatch at 505-334-6622.

FARMINGTON – The Farmington Police Department is taking extra steps to monitor political signs installed across the city as the agency has received multiple reports of signs being stolen or damaged.

It comes as the chairs for the area Democratic and Republican parties ask residents to stop destroying or stealing private property.

Farmington police on Oct. 14 made a post to its Facebook page, stating officers are monitoring political signs as the Nov. 3 general election approaches.

The post stated officers have received several reports of signs being vandalized or stolen from private property.

"We understand that so many citizens are passionate about the 2020 election. However, vandalizing or stealing signs is against the law and infringes on others first amendment rights," according to the Farmington police Facebook post.

There have been eight incidents involving a campaign sign or flag damaged or destroyed from June 1 to Oct. 14, according to Farmington Police Department Spokesperson Nicole Brown.

An unknown person vandalized a political sign promoting the reelection of President Donald Trump.

"We believe those signs are targeted because people seem to have extreme emotional reactions to politics in general right now," Brown said in a statement.

San Juan County Sheriff's Office Spokesperson Kristi Hughes said a detective has had one case reported.

She added that several vandalized political signs have been observed in the Kirtland area but no one has reported those.

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The Sheriff's Office also on Sept. 29 posted on Facebook, stating it has received several reports of political sign damage and/or theft.

Drew Degner, Chairman of the Republican Party of San Juan County, and MP Schildmeyer, the Chairwoman of the Democratic Party of San Juan County, told The Daily Times there have been more signs vandalized and/or stolen in the area than have been reported to law enforcement.

A sign backing U.S. Senate candidate Mark Ronchetti drew the attention of an unknown vandal.

Brown said the potential charges could include criminal trespassing, larceny and criminal damage to property.  

The amount of damage and amount of stolen property could possibly lead to felony charges.

Degner filed a report on Sept. 28 at 8 County Road 350 where two signs, valued at $100 each, were spray-painted.

Both Degmer and Schildmeyer say they wish residents would stop stealing and damaging political signs and respect people's private property.

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Schildmeyer noted about 100 yard signs handed out have been reported stolen. 

The Sheriff's Office noted that with the increase of cheap video surveillance cameras and video doorbells that it's highly possible the suspects are being caught on camera.

Anyone with information or who has witnessed damage and/or theft of political signs can call non-emergency dispatch at 505-334-6622.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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