BY DYLAN SKRILOFF
As a trend of vandalism and theft of Donald Trump campaign material continues in Rockland County, one New City woman is taking a stand against it.
Linda Tirelli is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of the vandal or vandals who defaced three Trump for President lawn signs on her property last night.
The Rockland County Times has received several reports of theft of Trump lawn signs. Retired NYPD officer Frank Malloy alerted the Rockland County Times earlier this week that several signs in his Nanuet neighborhood had been stolen, including some repeatedly from the same properties.
He said that a local widow who placed a Trump sign on her lawn at her grandson’s request had the sign stolen and received a hostile letter that has traumatized her. In fact, many persons have all received the same unsigned letter.
In Stony Point’s Mountainview community off Central Highway there have been numerous disappearing signs. Residents confirmed that their signs had been stolen or otherwise disappeared. In some cases after the signs were replaced, they were stolen again.
According to Stony Point PD there were no actual complaints filed with police.
When Tirelli woke up Saturday morning around 6 a.m., she said she was “completely shocked” to find her Trump signs defaced with spray paint.
The signs had stood on her lawn for two months undisturbed. Sometime between 11 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Saturday that changed.
“Someone clearly is trying to suppress my free speech,” Tirelli said.
For many years she had posted signs in support of candidates on her lawn and not once before had there been an incident.
“Trump Headquarters” on Rt. 304 in Bardonia, an independent effort to support Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, has distributed thousands of Trump lawn signs from the location. Volunteers said they have counted 30 persons who sought replacement signs because their signs were stolen or vandalized.
The Trump volunteers told the Rockland County Times that some of the 30 persons had filed police reports with Clarkstown PD.
This contradicts what Clarkstown PD’s press contact Pete Walker told the Rockland County Times on Thursday morning. He said of disappearing or defaced Trump signs, “We have not had any complaints of that reported.”
Tirelli said the responding officer in her case acontradicted Walker, as well. “He said there have been a lot of other complaints.”
UPDATE: On Monday, August 29 the Clarkstown PD corrected their earlier response. Sgt. Jo Anne Fratianni stated, “Since August 1 we have taken 13 reports of Trump signs being taken. The total number of signs taken is 21.” She said one Hillary Clinton sign had been reported stolen.
The question of whether the volume of campaign vandalism this year exceeds past presidential seasons has not yet been answered. Fratianni said she will compare the records to 2012’s race as soon as possible.
Former NYPD Malloy said he did not expect the local police departments to do much about the vandalism as the property in question is worth little in monetary terms. The principle at stake, however, is worth more than its weight in gold for Tirelli.
“I definitely felt violated,” she said.
As an attorney who regularly sues banks on behalf of low-income persons going through home foreclosures, she resented the unspoken implication behind the defacement of her sign.
“This election is about the economy and jobs. I have seen how much people are hurting.”
Tirelli said she does not consider any of her neighbors suspects. “I can vouch for my neighbors. There is nobody who would do something like that on my block,” she said.
If you have a tip on who defaced Tirelli’s property and would like to win the $1,000 reward, contact the Clarkstown PD tip line @ 1-877-639-6233. The information must lead to an arrest and guilty verdict in order for you to receive the reward.