AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine GOP is doing its best to put lawn sign thieves on notice.
Last week, the party said it provided evidence to a police department in northern Maine that showed the theft and destruction of lawn signs by at least one college student.
According to Maine GOP, the evidence provided resulted in a summons for theft of multiple lawn signs later that same day.
After what the party calls a "rampant increase in the theft of signs across Maine," it says it will now be providing evidence of thefts to local and county police departments.
Stealing or defacing a single lawn sign carries a fine of up to $250 in Maine.
"I want to be clear, our tolerance for this rampant theft of lawn signs is now zero. We will turn over evidence of theft to authorities in every instance it is provided to us," Maine GOP Executive Director Jason Savage said. "The rule of law matters. Property matters and most importantly, the First Amendment matters."
"This is about protecting the free speech of Maine people. If you steal a lawn sign and we get photos or evidence, you will be answering to authorities," Savage added.
Maine GOP said it will not be publicly releasing the name of the lawn sign thief charged last week in the hope that the offender will learn a lesson and refrain from such activities in the future. However, the party said that any additional charges brought will result in the Maine GOP publicly releasing the names of those known to have stolen or damaged lawn signs or other property.