Advisory: The following story contains graphic language. Reader discretion is advised.
Editor’s Note: The location of the alleged incident described in this story was provided by police in both their news release and an incident report about it. However, both to help prevent the property from being a potential target of future acts of vandalism and to further conceal the identities of the minor individuals who are charged in this case, we have voluntarily kept it undisclosed it in our reporting.
Correction: An earlier published version of this story incorrectly indicated that the juvenile females were teenagers. Their ages are not specified by police in their reports.
Juvenile charges have been brought against two girls from Hellertown borough, who police say stole and damaged Trump yard signs belonging to a resident.
Police initially referenced the alleged Aug. 30 incident in a news release, which indicated that the girls have been charged with theft, receiving stolen property, harassment and criminal mischief.
Via an open records request, Saucon Source obtained an incident report from the Hellertown Police Department which describes what allegedly occurred in greater detail.
According to Cpl. John Donato, who investigated the case, a resident called police upon returning from vacation to report that “two juvenile females had vandalized his property by knocking over and stealing his ‘Trump’ campaign signs” as well as a business sign.
The resident also told him his sidewalk was colored upon and “vandalized” with chalk, Donato said.
When Donato went to the scene, he said he “observed the chalk writing on his sidewalk to read ‘LGBTQ+ and Black Lives Matter,’ ‘BLM,’ ‘FUCK TRUMP,’ ‘NO GUNS’ and another ‘BLM.'”
Donato said he reviewed surveillance footage provided by the property owner in which “two females can clearly be seen kicking the signs over and stealing at least one and walking off with it.”
Donato said he reviewed a total of four home surveillance videos made available to him by the resident, which were recorded between 11:34 a.m. and 12:06 p.m. Aug. 30.
He reported that they allegedly show the following:
- VIDEO 1 (11:34 a.m.): Both girls are seen in front of the residence.
- VIDEO 2 (11:40 a.m.): One of the girls is seen walking south with one of the Trump signs while the other girl walks behind her. They are then seen crossing the street, which Donato said “is consistent” with a statement the property owner made indicating that his signs were “thrown all over the neighborhood.”
- VIDEO 3 (12:05 p.m.): Both girls are seen walking north and “stopping to pick up chalk that was left when the sidewalk was tagged.”
- VIDEO 4 (12:06 p.m.): The girls can again be seen walking south and stopping in front of the house, where “they appear to be eating something…look around and kick two signs down, then giggle.”
It was as a direct result of the surveillance footage and interviews with local residents that Donato said he was able to identify the girls who were subsequently charged.
He noted in the incident report that he spoke to the parents of each minor, who did not allow their children would be questioned by police.
The parents of one of the girls told Donato they would be seeking legal counsel, he said.
“The value of the property vandalized was over $500 and we are missing property at this time totaling over $200,” the resident told Donato in a statement that was included in the incident report, in which the names of the girls are redacted because they are juveniles.
In his statement to authorities, the resident also indicated that a door to his property was found open upon his return “with property missing,” and that his property has been “vandalized by neighbors” in the past.
The case has been referred to Northampton County Juvenile Court authorities, Donato said.
Sunday’s alleged incident in Hellertown is only the latest involving Trump signs in the area. The signs have also been a target for thieves and vandals in Upper Bucks County.
Note: Individuals charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty. This story was compiled using information from police and court documents.
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