BOW VALLEY — Vandals have decided to make their own political statement this election season.
Jerry Bartels and Julia Kleinschmit discovered Sunday that their “Biden for President” sign had been vandalized when someone scrawled an obscenity across the front of the sign Saturday night.
The couple first put a sign in the front yard of their Bow Valley home in late August showing their support for former Vice President Joe Biden, who is running for President against Donald Trump. That sign was stolen just a few days later.
They then put a new sign up and reinforced it, making it more difficult to steal.
This time vandals decided to deface the sign with vulgar language and googly eyes.
Kleinschmit said she reported the incident to the Cedar County Sheriff’s office.
“This is so frustrating. I don’t understand how this can be so offensive that people would do this,” Kleinschmit said. “Part of the reason we put it back up again, is we think we owe it to other people in the community, especially the kids, to show them that there can be a diversity of opinion.”
Cedar County Sheriff Larry Koranda said his department is investigating the incident.
The Kleinschmits were out of town when the vandals struck so a neighbor put a sheet over the sign to cover up the vulgar language.
When they returned Monday, they removed the sheet. Their first thought was to wipe out the vulgar language. Instead, they have decided to add two more signs near the Biden sign.
One will say “A local Trump supporter in action,” with an arrow that points to the Biden sign.
The second sign will say, “Your vote is your secret.”
“Whoever did this is trying to silence us and intimidate others,” Kleinschmit said. “That is not OK in the U.S. or in Cedar County.”
Kleinschmit said the vandals have cast a pall over the community.
“We’re sorry that in a beautiful town like Bow Valley, where we have so many children, the language will be on display. But we hope it will lead to conversations around the dinner table about how it’s wrong to try to bully and intimidate others,” she said. “Keeping it up offers a chance to learn about disagreeing civilly, participating in a democracy, and keeping your paws off other people’s stuff.”
Koranda said if the vandals are apprehended they could be charged with criminal mischief for defacing the sign and theft if it is determined they stole the original sign.