THEFTS IRK FAIR HAVEN OBAMA BACKERS

AyalacrockettAyala Naphtali, with neighbor Andrew Crockett, had a spare Obama sign to replace the one stolen from her yard. Below, Yvonne Grayson’s sign is anchored in concrete after vandals ripped it out of the ground.

A rash of campaign-sign thefts and a case of repeated vandalism in Fair Haven have backers of Sen. Barack Obama wondering if someone in the town’s majority party can’t tolerate a different point of view.

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In the last 10 days, at least five residents from various parts of town have reported thefts of national campaign signs, says police Chief Darryl Breckenridge. From what he can tell from records, at least four of those were Obama signs; he was unsure about the fifth.

And another resident has come forward with an account of someone pulling a 50-pound custom sign out of the ground earlier this year after three lightweight signs were taken from her front lawn.

Breckenridge says reports of sign theft and vandalism are not uncommon during election season. But supporters of the Democratic presidential candidate can’t help but think that they’re being targeted in a town that tilts Republican.

Andrew Crockett, whose sign was stolen early Saturday, tells redbankgreen he can understand a little juvenile vandalism, but doesn’t think that’s what is going on, not with his sign being stolen shortly before dawn last Saturday.

“If this is a McCain person doing this, please — my reaction is unprintable,” he says.

Crockett says his family was awakened at 5a Saturday by their barking dog. When Crockett stepped outside, he found that his Obama sign was gone.

“My wife is a through-and-through Obama supporter,” he says. “She was livid,” and went to the police station to file a complaint. There, she learned she wasn’t alone.

Across the street from the Crocketts, Ayala Naphtali says her Obama sign was also taken over the weekend, though she’s not sure exactly when.

She describes the theft as “childish and annoying,” on one hand. But she adds that her 9-year-old son is having a hard time with it because the family is relatively new to town, having moved from a solidly Democratic neighborhood in Brooklyn two years ago.

“He’s just starting to understand that not everyone agrees, and he’s uncomfortable with the idea” that his parents’ views may not be shared by the parents of his schoolmates, she says. “When something like this happens, you have to explain it to him.”

How to explain this, though, which redbankgreen received by email from Yvonne Grayson of Ridge Road:

We’ve had issues since April of this year when we placed a plastic, metal stick-type sign near the front of our property. About 1 week later, it was gone.

We then replaced it with two of the same type signs placing them about 40 feet onto our property on either side of our front door. These were well away from the street, nonetheless, about a week later, we found them just east of our house, in the middle of the street, torn up. There is no possibility the both were blown away and the condition indicated they’d been vandalized.

My husband and I decided to build a sign that we could anchor in the ground. We constructed a solid wood sign using two 4X4s and solid, heavy wood. We used screws in the construction and allowed for an anchor of 4 feet below ground. The fully constructed sign weighed about 50 pounds.

When we were installing it, we had many neighbors and passersby give honks and thumbs up. Unfortunately, we also had a few drive by, honking and giving the middle finger. I encouraged my husband to cement the sign in but he felt it’s weight would stop anyone from taking it. Six days later, the sign was gone. We found it across the street, thrown in the bushes. We think the vandals attempted to take it not realizing how heavy it was then ditched it when they couldn’t carry it or easily destroy it.

The sign wasn’t damaged so we reinstalled it, anchoring the posts 4 ft. into the ground with cement and installing lights which remain on throughout the night. It is nicely decorated with yellow mums and mulch . A friend heard about our plight and offered to install an infrared security camera.

We’ve lived here for 15 years and have never witnessed anything like this. We hold our breath every morning.

Fair Haven Democrats may not be as badly outnumbered this year as they feel, though. According to new figures from the Monmouth County Clerk’s office, the GOP has just a 189-voter edge over the Democrats in registrations, 1,302 to 1,113, out of 4,343 registered voters.

Across Monmouth County, which has 427,558 registered voters, 107,140 call themselves Democrats, 94,699 Republicans, and 225,525 are unaffiliated.

Statewide, two polls have Obama way ahead of McCain in New Jersey, the Associated Press reports.

ABC News reports that both national parties are complaining of sign theft and vandalism.

And here’s a rather sickening report out of North Carolina about a 75-pound bear found shot dead and draped in Obama signs on the campus of Western Carolina University. Officials don’t know what to make of that incident.

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