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Safe Harbor Executive Director Ann Perkins speaks during Thursday's candlelight vigil.

ASHLAND It’s the month for tricks and treats, and for Ann Perkins, the tricks are off to an early start. Typically on Halloween, Perkins can be found in a professional costume, sometimes with her son dropping by, Ashland City Commissioner and soon-to-be mayor Matt Perkins, equally as well-costumed, sitting on the porch of Ann Perkins’ house on Cumberland Avenue passing out tasty treats to children.

Recently campaign signs for U.S. Senate candidate Amy McGrath have been taken from Perkins’s yard.

“When I was running for the House of Representatives I had signs that were stolen in different locations, but this is the first time I’ve really noticed any signs being stolen from our house,” Perkins said, adding, “I know that the first stolen sign was a little neighborhood girl, and I know the second and third time was the same neighborhood boy.”  

Perkins said she has seen on Facebook that signs have been taken from other yards also.  

“I’m pretty dismayed over the lack of civility and just honestly by people who would do that kind of thing. Apparently it’s a federal offense,” Perkins said. “I didn’t realize that until after I found out this had happened.”

Incivility of stolen yard signs is common. In 2012, The New York Times showed a lawn photo of an Obama campaign sign with a sign next to it that read, ‘Every time you steal a sign you’re contributing to Obama’s campaign.’ In 2016, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported a Delaware County (Pennsylvania) Republican official posted, ”Hey scumbag that stole my Trump sign (u probably see facebook on your Obama phone) next time you come on my property to steal my 1st Amendment rights, I’m gonna teach you about the second Amendment.”  

The Philadelphia Inquirer published submitted suggestions including putting signs closer to your house, or if your yard is shallow put signs in a front-facing window.

One person suggested, “I slather my yard signs in Vaseline and then I attach a note telling them that they are being watched on two different night vision cameras.”  

Other people said they put oily or greasy material on the post or around the edges, while others used wet paint. One creative person told the newspaper, “Slather dog poo on strategic parts of the sign. On the back by the stakes so that when they grab the sign to yank it out they get poo. Or hot sauce, so when they rub their eyes after the fact.” Some tactics mentioned could be dangerous and are not mentioned in this story.

Perkins said she wondered if the kids’ parents’ political comments made them want to take signs or if they were just pulling a prank.

“Concerning the political climate it’s pretty concerning to me,” Perkins said.

“I can’t recall ever having any signs stolen. You hope it’s some kid or something. You hope it’s certainly not an adult. It’s a very immature act. She’s (Perkins) a good person,” Ashland Mayor Steve Gilmore said.

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