The Constitutional rights of private property were trampled over the weekend by unknown vandals who defaced two prominent Trump-Pence signs with symbols of racist hatred.
Swastikas, best known for their use by the Nazi Party in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, were spray painted on one Trump-Pence sign in the 2700 block of Willis Avenue on Perry’s east side and another sign in the 1200 block of Pattee Street in the downtown area near the U.S. Post Office.
Perry Police Chief Eric Vaughn said he was aware of the criminal mischief, but his office had not yet received any reports of the defacement.
“I saw that on school patrol,” Vaughn said, “and I came in and checked and haven’t seen any reports of it, so I’m not sure when it occurred. I assume it happened sometime over the weekend, but I don’t know exactly when.”
Theresea Jacobsen of rural Perry, owner of both properties where the pro-Trump signs stand, said she was aware of the defilement but did not intend to report it to law enforcement.
“They won’t do anything about it,” Jacobsen said. “They did the Nazi symbol at the office and at the shop, and we just took the camera down at the shop. We had a trail camera and we had just taken it down, and then they did that, so they waited for the camera to get taken down, I guess. I don’t know.”
A second sign stood in the 2700 block of Willis Avenue at the site of the former Perry Sales Pavilion, which was demolished in 2001. The sign was removed in March.
Jacobsen said she will not retreat in the face of this outrage to the rights of private property, which are seen by some as equally fundamental with life and liberty as inalienable American rights.
“We’re just going to fix them,” she said. “We’ve taken them down and replaced them three or four times, especially during the election time. We’re going to trade them out with the flag. We have signs that we made with actually the flag.”
A caller reported the criminal mischief about 3:30 p.m. Monday to the Perry Police Department, according to public safety radio traffic. Officers responded, and the case is under investigation.
The Perry community is no stranger to politically motivate criminal mischief. A vandal with a stencil and spray paint defaced the entrance of the Perry High School Sept. 30, 2018, with a message of anti-immigrant hatred the night before the annual Hispanics United for Perry Latino Festival was held there.