A "sign" of vandalism
POSTED: Friday, October 29, 2010 - 10:21pm
UPDATED: Sunday, October 31, 2010 - 7:23am
A teenage prank results in charges against a young man in Whitehouse. And it all revolves around a 2-dollar campaign sign.
But that 2-dollar sign is emblematic of a hard fought campaign to determine if Whitehouse will allow alcohol sales.
The vote is Tuesday and the campaigning has been passionate. So when signs start disappearing, people get angry…
“In all my years in east Texas, I’ve never seen the vandalism of signs at the level it is now,” says former Mayor Dale Moran who leads the dry forces.
17-year-old Ryan Rabon is a soft spoken teenager, who has never had a run-in with the law, until now…
“I took 6 signs out of a lady’s yard,” he told us. “And then she put another set out that day, and we took those, too.”
“We’ve had nearly 300 signs of ours removed,” Moran says, “and it’s really become a real problem in the community. Of course, the removal of signs is trespassing or criminal mischief.”
Ryan admits what he did was wrong, but like all 17-year-olds didn’t think yard signs were any big deal…
“Nobody ever told us, hey, you’re breaking the law or anything like that.” He says.
“We saw the cops from a mile away. We saw them before they saw us. We just stood there…hung out there,” Ryan explains.
“I don’t condone what my son did at all,” says Ryan’s mother Shannon,”but I’m not happy with the fact that this person has that power to press charges when it was actually on someone else’s yard.”
“If police catch them with the signs, then they’ve got the evidence,” Moran counters.
“It is, it’s totally overkill,” Shannon counters.
“The younger generation needs to get a message. You don’t trespass. You don’t do criminal things,” says Moran.
“If you want children to have respect for the law, you have to have answers,” Shannon contends. “And they can’t give me those answers. And I have to be able to explain to him why someone can do this.”
“I think it’s proper. They need to get the message,” Moran concluded.
Ryan’s court date is November 16th and Shannon and Ryan are consulting with an attorney.
The alcohol referendum will be on the Tuesday ballot.