Black Lives Matter signs stolen, damaged in Evanston, Skokie

SKOKIE, Ill. (WLS) -- Someone is stealing or damaging signs with the message "Black Lives Matter" in the yards of homes in the north suburbs. Police in Evanston and Skokie are investigating and homeowners are disturbed.

"Black Lives Matter" signs are a common sight in front yards throughout the north suburbs, but what's becoming more prevalent is a disturbing trend. The theft or vandalism of those signs has happened to Corrie Wallace six times in the past year.

"It's really troubling, 'cause now I wake up every morning I look outside to see if my sign is still there," Wallace said.

Wallace said she is one of several people in Skokie and Evanston who have had to replace their signs repeatedly, because they were damaged or stolen.

"I don't believe it's kids," she said.

Pat Savage-Williams says her "Black Lives Matter" sign was on her tree right above the "No Trespassing" sign, but someone went on her property and took it. Anya Tanyavutti said the same thing happened to her.

"I'm on my third sign, do you know where I can get more signs?" Tanyavutti said.

The Evanston resident said her first sign was stolen and the second one stomped on. Evanston police provided a picture of the suspect taken by Tanyavutti's neighbor.

"That person coming on to our property and violently attacking our sign was an indication that me and my children don't deserve to feel safe in our own home," Tanyavutti said.

When signs disappear, Melissa Blount and her husband provide new ones. She said the message has been misinterpreted.

"It's a human rights campaign, not a political campaign," Blount said.

Reverend Michael Nabors, of the NAACP, said a community as diverse and inclusive as Evanston is not immune to the current political climate.

"We see now that everything is out in the open and people don't mind expressing their venom and their hatred," Nabors said.

The theft isn't limited to houses. Lake Street Avenue Church in Evanston has had about a dozen "Black Lives Matter" signs stolen over the last couple of years and is now looking at a permanent sign that is resistant to theft.

Incident reports have been filed with both the Evanston and Skokie police departments. One police spokesman said it's best to have a discussion about the signs rather than stealing or damaging them.
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