We are heartbroken and angry over the recent burning of our political sign. Yes, it was a Trump sign, but please read on. This gets interesting!
A young man clad only in his underwear – no socks, shoes, shirt, or pants who lives next door walked out to our sign around 1 a.m. Thursday night and first poured Motor Treatment on the sign. Mind you, since we have had our signs previously stolen or destroyed, this sign was encased in a wooden frame with nails, grease, lights, and chicken wire around it. Then he went back and got a lighter. No success. So he returned with a torch. The sign burned for at least 20 minutes. Car after car went by. People walked by. Two stopped and fist-pumped him. He was burning something in a front yard in his underwear and NO ONE thought to call the police?! You don’t have to get involved and probably 98% of those going by at that time had cell phones. This sign also had a flag on the pole. The American flag was singed, but is proudly flying once again.
We need some sort of “policing” in our neighborhoods Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights from about 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. We understand our police department has their hands full with Second Street (the majority of our City’s bars are on Second Street) and other disorderly issues arising during those times. Our thought is to have some “angels” walk the streets. Perhaps students in the Criminal Justice program or other majors at UW-Platteville. They could use spare radios from the Police Department and call in emergency situations. This would then translate to volunteer work they could include on a resume. What about the UWP police? Can they help patrol our neighborhoods during the “party hours?”Hopefully people will be a bit more reluctant to trash political signs, wreck Christmas decorations, steal rose cages, throw bottles and food wrappers all over, or puke in the back of a truck. Yes, this has all happened. Thank you to the Platteville Police Department in obtaining a confession in this instance when they couldn’t be everywhere all the time.
The University has upped its enrollment and this is stressing our neighborhoods. Our police force has not matched the growth of UWP. Summers are nice and quiet – without the vandalism and noise that begins as soon as the students return. We are donors to UWP as we strongly believe in the value of education. It would be nice if our City could have a partnership with UWP to balance out the bad with the good that UWP brings our community.
Yes, we do wish to press charges against this young man. It was truly a pre-meditated act as he came back three times to torch the sign. The flag almost caught on fire. This could have been a lot worse and hopefully it serves as a wake-up call for him. If you think we shouldn’t press charges, would you want him living next door to you?
We also found two 2-liter pop bottles in our backyard with liquid and tin foil in them – apparently the makings of a rudimentary bomb. Kevin carried them up to our porch thinking they were garbage. They could have easily exploded burning him. There’s also a one-year-old little boy who plays out back. What’s the first thing kids do when they pick up something? Shake it. He could have been burned from head to toe and scarred for the rest of his life.
We have wonderful neighbors for the most part. One of the Frat houses down the street had a party last weekend. They dropped off notes before the party with names and phone numbers to call if we had any issues with their party. This is the kind of responsible behavior that is welcomed.
Unfortunately, we both work about 60-70 hours/week. So we need to sleep during those hours of vandalism. We’ve spoken with the University several times, and we know they are aware of the situation. And most recently with the Chancellor. And Jane has approached Jack Luedke of the Main Street Program as well as the Police. In addition to random vandalism of property in people’s yards, several street signs and stop signs have recently been stolen. This costs tax dollars and can be very dangerous.
There’s a video on Youtube (Underwear-Clad Man Torches Trump Sign) for your viewing enjoyment. Why do we have a video? Because we have had to resort to security cameras and motion lights on our home. Who will help us take back our community?
Jane & Kevin Leighty
345 W Main St.