“Yanking out the signs and running like a scared rabbit back to my idling car was one of the single-most exhilarating and empowering political acts that I have ever done,” wrote Phil Busse in an essay titled “Confessions of a Lawn Sign Stealer” for the Huffington Post.
Busse is teaching a class on media studies this semester at St. Olaf and is currently director for the Northwest Institute for Social Change. He unsuccessfully ran for the mayor in Portland, Oregon in 2004.
Busse said he realized he committed a crime and expected to be charged with misdemeanor theft of trespassing in the piece
He then proceeded to discuss in great detail how he committed one of the crimes.
BUSSE: "The biggest sign I stole was also the grandest thrill. It was 10 p.m. on a Saturday evening and there was a good chance the homeowners were awake. I drove by once and could see at least one light on inside the house. As a safety feature, newer models of Subarus do not allow the driver to leave the engine running and to turn off all exterior lights. The parking lights burned orange as I hustled up the small grass embankment. Inside, I could see a TV flickering blue light. I reached the sign and, for the first time, recognized its sublime size. It stood as tall as me. I grabbed one of the steel rods holding the signs; but unlike the smaller signs, it did not yield. I wrapped my hands tighter around the stake as if I were a Little Leaguer stepping to bat for the first time, and I squatted, thrusting my legs. The post resisted for a strained, frozen moment and then released. I considered running away right then, leaving the sign crippled but still there. But my Midwest morals insisted that I finish the job. I grabbed the other post and yanked, dragging the sign behind me as I ran. I drove away with the hatchback yawning wide open, and the sign hanging out over the back bumper. I drive by the house on a near daily basis. For a week afterwards, I had that particular thrill which must draw criminals back to the scene of the crime. The empty lawn -- its silence -- seemed like a small victory that I had scored for my side."
Busse is now being investigated by the Rice County Sheriff.
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