Burlington Yard Signs Promoting Diversity Stolen, Owner Vows to Continue Spreading Message

BURLINGTON, Vt. - A Burlington man says three signs supporting more diversity were stolen from his front yard over the past few weeks.

James Lockridge has been living on King Street for seven years, he's never had a problem with theft up until now.

"It was basically a list of ways that we respect each other or we could respect each other,” said Lockridge explaining the sign.

Lockridge says he put the signs up as a reminder of what he thinks is important for everyone, that is 'no matter what our political opinions are, we are a community'.

Lockridge said, "It's tragic that we need to put a sign out that reminds us of these things that should be important to us when so much of the public conversation is disruptive."

The only thing left behind was the metal bracket that supports the sign. Lockridge says the second time around, his 'Black Lives Matter' sign was also stolen.

"I don’t fall into a pit of drama or emotion over this, you know I think that it helps me understand the world better which is productive," said Lockridge.

Lockridge has not filed any sort of complaint with the police department, as he believes law enforcement have much larger issues to attend to, but the police do say this is a crime.

"What is more concerning, what does that say about what is going on as far as bias and hate in the community... Citizens need to be respectful of others first amendment rights and that is in both speech and symbols,” said Deputy Chief Shawn Burke, Burlington Police Department.
Burke says despite an elevated level of political tension, this sort of thing has not been on the rise in Burlington.

For Lockridge, he says he'll continue spreading his message, "I'd like to be a force of maintaining optimism, hope and positivity in the world... We just keep buying new signs."

Lockridge has ordered new signs already. He says the stolen signs were worth about $50 including shipping.

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