Two 18-year-olds were arrested and charged after stealing campaign signs supporting President Donald Trump this weekend in Onslow County, North Carolina. The Daily News reports that 66 Trump campaign signs were recovered from the arrest.
According to NewsChannel 12, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol pulled over a driver for speeding. Then, they discovered the vehicle had a large number of political signs in it. Trinity Graham and Sasha Taylor (pictured above) were charged with stealing political signs and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor because there were three juveniles in the car.
Popular Teen Past Time?
Sign-stealing isn’t uncommon during these weeks leading up to the presidential election. For this year’s round, officials are placing blame on social media platform TikTok. In Lake Mary, Florida, police are telling TikTok users to stop after a spike in stolen Trump campaign signs — both locally and all over the country — were discussed on the app.
“You have 6.8 million people viewing a TikTok challenge telling them to commit a crime, that’s a problem,” Officer Zach Hudson told FOX 10.
Hudson explained they found out about the TikTok trend when they were questioning a suspect from a nearby town. The suspect told investigators that there was a TikTok challenge encouraging everyone to steal Trump signs in their neighborhoods.
“They create a video of them taking the signs,” Hudson said. “Sometimes it’s a matter of how many signs they can take over the course of the night.”
Police: “It Is a Crime”
According to Hudson, at least 24 Trump signs and a Trump flag have been stolen in Lake Mary. He issued a warning to kids trying to participate, saying that it was breaking the law.
“If you’re doing this, you can spend 6 months in jail,” Hudson said. “It is a crime to take someone else’s property.”
Theft and vandalism laws vary by state. While Hudson mentioned jail time in his warning, most states treat stealing political yard signs as a misdemeanor; meaning, being charged will likely result in fines rather than jail time.
Grant Hillyer, a police officer from Burlington, Iowa, told The Hawk Eye that yard sign theft is similar to a speeding ticket — it’s a simple misdemeanor. It would result in a citation with a court date and any fine would be up to the judge, ranging from $65 to $500.
While Parentology hasn’t been able to identify a name for the challenge, there are several videos of TikTok users making light of stealing Trump signs. However, many of these videos do not record the actual act of stealing signs from someone’s property.
Stealing Trump Signs
One TikTok user, @nickgottricks, often goes viral for their anti-Trump rhetoric. In the TikTok below, they can be seen tearing down several pieces of Trump campaign merch. In the on-screen caption, they wrote, “Waiting for my neighbor to put out another Trump sign just so I can take it.”
In another TikTok, the on-screen caption reads “My parents — Did you hear about all the Trump signs that have been going missing around the neighborhood?” while the screen shows a trunk full of campaign signs. The screen cuts to a TikTok user mouthing, “I know a lot of things but I don’t know about that.”
Meanwhile, the on-screen caption says, “Me with every single one in my trunk because I steal them on my nightly drives.”
In the TikTok’s actual caption, the user wrote, “If my neighbors see this don’t worry it’s just a metaphor.”
If my neighbors see this don’t worry it’s just a metaphor♬ I know a lot of things but I dont know bout that – Michaél myerhs