William Evans has a message for the people who snatched multiple political signs off his front lawn: please stop.
This weekend his Camp Hill home on Beverly road was hit by sign thieves, who didn't realize they were being recorded on video.
"Noticed Friday morning that the signs, a couple of the signs, were thrown into the yard. And then, Saturday night I actually caught the vandals in the act," said Evans, whose Ring doorbell captured the act.
Evans is a Biden supporter and some of his pro-Biden neighbors also had their signs destroyed or stolen. Trump supporters have also been the victim of sign thefts and vandalism in the area with Camp Hill Police telling FOX43 nearly two dozen incidents were reported in the last three weeks targeting both political parties. Stealing election signs is considered a third degree misdemeanor in Pennsylvania, which carries a fine of up to $2,500 and/or up to one year in jail.
"I yelled. I said get off my yard and soon as they heard my voice they all scattered and ran off," said Evans.
Evans said the incident at his home this past weekend appeared to be premeditated and coordinated.
He said Friday night, a bunch of Biden signs got stolen within a 2-3 block radius of his house. He also found several signs torn up and left in his yard Saturday morning. Evans and his wife filed a report with police and meantime helped to replace the signs in his neighbors yards. But, he said around dusk a large group of young people circled his block and stood in front of his house, some yelling obscenities. He said around 10:12 pm Saturday the couple then spotted multiple people stealing the Biden signs off of their yard.
"There was a car kind of rolling with them where they were apparently going to throw the signs if they had not been caught," said Evans.
Evans said he has a desire to engage about his political opinions and welcomes people to have civil discussions at his doorstep.
"There's a lot of desire to engage about my opinions and I'm very passionate about it. And, it's certainly a very charged election season. But, I think it's important to remember we're all neighbors," he said.
The reports of political signs stolen come as Pennsylvania is expected to be a battleground state once again this November
"The issues now have become so hyper partisan. Everything from how we handle the Supreme Court Justice to how we handle COVID," said polling expert Jimmy Lee of Susquehanna Polling and Research.
Lee said the trend towards a more divisive, polarized political atmosphere began back in 2016.
"Our polling then between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at the time in Pennsylvania showed and this is quite stark in my opinion, that most voters had more negative opinions than positive opinions of both candidates. And, that was the start of a pretty sinister trend we're seeing now. This country is so politicized and so polarized that it's hard to see how we find our way back," said Lee. "Now compare that to maybe 10 years ago when Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008, I'll never forget this, our polling for him and John McCain showed that even though Obama was favored in the state voters generally liked both candidates. They had higher positives than negatives. We didn't seem to be in this toxic climate then."
Lee said even now polling in PA is showing most voters have negative views of both candidates. As for the issues voters care most about this election, Lee said polling highlights three things in particular.
"There was a statistically three-way tie between dealing with the coronavirus, restoring the economy and jobs, and restoring law and order to societies and towns," said Lee.