Six signs supporting the LGBTQ+ community have gone missing so far
Over the past week, there have been a total of six reports of Tewksbury Pride signs being stolen from people’s yards on Whipple Rd., South St., N. Andover Rd. and Pleasant St. The signs, shown above, were sold to show support for the LGBTQ+ community in Tewksbury and raise money to fund the Pride celebration held on the town common on Friday, June 2.
One homeowner reported that the thief was a woman with long brown hair, a description that matches a video that was recorded of another sign being stolen. The video shows a car, a light blue hatchback, stopping in the middle of the street, and the driver getting out, putting the sign in her car, and driving away.
Resident Jenni Balch-Kenney, who has had two of her signs stolen now, said, “It’s frustrating. I think it’s not only discriminatory, but also theft.”
Balch-Kenney’s first sign was put out on May 24 and was gone by May 26. Her second sign was also stolen within three days. Both signs seemed to be taken overnight. While she has put out other signs before, like election signs or ones for other causes, this is the first time she has experienced her signs being stolen.
Another homeowner on Whipple, who was able to get a partial license plate and description of the woman and car, said that they were “dismayed and angry” to see that their sign had been stolen. They reported the incident to the Tewksbury Police Department.
Brent Conway, whose sign was put up on Sunday, May 28 at noon and was stolen by 3 p.m. that day, has also filed a police report.
“As an ally, it’s important that we take the opportunity to speak up and show that that behavior and those actions are unacceptable,” said Conway. “The responsibility to act should not only fall on those who are marginalized.”
The signs have been put in people’s yards to show support for the LGBTQ+ community in Tewksbury. The owners of the signs believe that these were stolen out of hate towards the community and the demonstrations of allyship. The question is raised: Is this a hate crime?
A hate crime, according to Black’s Law Dictionary, is a “felony or misdemeanor motivated by the perpetrator’s prejudice, usu. an intense bigotry on the basis of the victim’s race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability, or sexual orientation.”
Besides this, because the signs were paid for, this would qualify as theft, as well as trespassing on the homeowner’s property.
The Tewksbury Police Department is currently investigating these cases and searching for the perpetrator.