Theft spree of BLM, Biden, LGBTQ symbols called ‘hateful,’ condemned by Oakwood

OAKWOOD – The reported theft in recent days of more than a dozen yard signs promoting Black Lives Matter, presidential candidate Joe Biden and LGBTQ issues prompted a plea for the city to condemn the crimes.

On Tuesday, Oakwood officials released a statement saying such actions “will be aggressively investigated” and “swiftly prosecuted if and when aggrieved persons press charges.”

Seventeen residents are listed as victims in the crimes reported on nine streets Aug. 21, police records show. The incidents follow four other thefts reported last month involving Black Lives Matter yard signs in Oakwood.

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After the most recent thefts, resident Sam Dorf wrote Oakwood city officials, asking for them “to address these hateful incidents because they will only continue if citizens and city leaders sit silent.”

The statement by the city said leaders “are aware that the current political climate is highly charged, but that most certainly does not justify criminal behavior.”

It also noted “during this challenging time, and particularly as we enter an election season…The freedom of expression, political or otherwise, is a fundamental American right, and it will be protected in the city of Oakwood.”

Last weekend’s thefts were reported from homes on East Drive, Forrer Boulevard, Hathaway Road, Monteray Avenue, Oak Knoll Drive, Peach Orchard Avenue, Shroyer Road, and Telford and Triangle avenues, police records state.

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One resident said the thefts included signs advocating for Biden, the Democratic Party presidential nominee, and LGBTQ signs/flags, but police reports do not mention those.

The city’s statement, however, acknowledged “several yard signs and flags.”

Oakwood police reports indicate one resident described a suspect as having a medium build with short hair, up to half inch.

On July 17, four residents of Wonderly Avenue reported stolen Black Lives Matter signs, according to police records.

Police reports do not indicate the July and August crimes are related.

Last month, two neighborhood women whose names were redacted from records admitted to taking signs and burning them in their backyard, according to police.

One woman told police they were drinking alcohol and “blowing off steam,” reports indicate.

The two women apologized and said the signs would be replaced, police records show.

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