Signs stating, “Yes to green energy. No to industrial wind in Meredith,” have been disappearing from the homes of Alliance for Meredith members, residents said Monday.
Sue Bailey, Alliance spokeswoman, said the signs began to vanish June 23 when one was taken on Turnpike Road at about 11:30 p.m. The residents “heard this low muffler sound that sounded like someone turning around in the driveway and then speeding off,” she said.
The next night, she said, a white sedan with a loud muffler and at least two passengers graded a sign on Dickman Road at 8:15 p.m.
Bob Rosen said his two signs were stolen June 24 but were returned and left leaning against his mailbox.
“I was hoping the return of the signs was a message that no harm was intended and the whole thing was just a prank, but my hope was premature,” he said. “Since then, there has been a wave of signs stolen.”
Rosen said the thefts have left people upset.
“It appears to be an organized attempt to intimidate those who are opposed to industrial wind,” he said. “Our right to free speech is being infringed upon.”
Rosen said he is not aware of any signs distributed by Invenergy, a wind-energy company, disappearing. Those signs say “Yes to green energy.”
“We would like to encourage civility on both sides of this issue,” Rosen said.
Bailey said two attempts were made to steal the sign in front of her house. At 10:45 p.m. Wednesday, a car with a loud muffler stopped near the sign, but her husband, Ron, yelled loudly out of an upstairs window and the car drove away.
Bailey said she heard a car with a loud muffler in front of the house at 2:35 a.m., and she was able to scare it off by yelling.
“I have to tell you it felt like a horror movie to have a car come up the road at 2:30 in the morning and stop at my house,” she said. She added a second sign in their hayfield was stolen.
Rosen said the thefts total 25 to 30 signs. As they are taken, people are replacing them, only to have them stolen again, he said.
People whose signs disappeared later in the week said the alleged snatchers had switched vehicles and were using a small, maroon sedan that runs quietly. They said the car usually approaches with its headlights turned off.
Gerry Pellagrino said he noticed the sign was missing from his Meridale home when he turned into his driveway as he arrived home from work Friday.
Gretyl Bachler, wife of Meredith Supervisor Frank Bachler, said their pro-wind signs had disappeared a couple of times, but not recently.
She added she couldn’t imagine why people would be taking the anti-industrial wind signs.
Investigator Tim Buckley of the Delaware County Sheriff’s Department said the thefts are being investigated.
By Patricia Breakey
Delhi News Bureau
3 July 2007
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