There are some places that the signs always go back up after I remove them, so I frequently go back by those places. Well, this one place is a power pole on the edge of a private residence. Technically, I guess that you could say the power pole is on private property, but I assume a couple feet of “utility ROE.” I had removed the sign from this spot about 10 times.
This particular day I was spotted taking the sign down by someone two doors down. I was in kind of a cul-de-sac, so I had to pass by this guy to leave. He motioned for me to come near him. I rolled my window down and he asked me why I took the sign down. I told him that the sign was illegal and on a utility ROE. He got really upset, telling me that the sign belonged to him. He started yelling that he was going to call the police. Then he started to get really close to my vehicle. I told him back off and if he touched me I would fill assault charges against him. I left the scene.
I am a fire ground photographer, so I always have my scanner with me. I flipped the scanner over to the PD channel and heard a BOLO (be on the look-out) for a “silver truck that stole a religious sign.” I was about four miles from home and knew that I there was a pretty good chance of being seen by a cop. Sure enough about three minutes after the BOLO I was at a light and a police car pulled up beside me. The officer did not “light me up,” he just asked me through the window if I was involved with the “sign situation.” I said yes and he asked me to pull over into a local commercial parking lot.
Well, I am a retired firefighter and I know almost all of the cops in my city and sure enough I knew this fellow. I showed him the sign and explained to him what I was doing. I had a ton of other signs in the bed of my truck, so he could see that I not picking on the “religious” signs. He got on the phone with his supervisor and explained what I was doing. Mean while, the PD supervisor went to speak with the complainant and explained the law. I was not admonished in any way. I don’t even think the officer ran my name with dispatch.
The sign is back up, but I will go back in the darkness to remove new ones.