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Pro-Israel Lawn Signs Consistently Stolen and Vandalized in Pennsylvania Suburb

A variety of antisemitic and anti-Israel incidents continued last week in Pittsburgh.

On May 13, an individual was caught stealing “I Stand With Israel” lawn signs from yards in Squirrel Hill.

Molly Braver was outside doing chores when she noticed a white truck park near her home. The driver got out and walked into her neighbor’s yard, took their sign and started to walk away.

“I said to the guy, ‘What are you doing? You’re not allowed to take that,” Braver said. “You do not have permission.’ He was like, ‘You support genocide.’”

Braver and her boyfriend engaged the would-be sign thief in a loud and heated argument that drew the attention of their neighbor, who came outside and told the man he didn’t have permission to take their sign.

The criminal eventually left but not before Braver took his picture and noted his license plate number. Her boyfriend noticed other lawn signs in the back of his truck.

Once the thief left the scene, Braver posted the incident to the Facebook group Jewish Pittsburgh to alert others.

Shawn Brokos, director of community security for the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, said that the individual was identified and charged, thanks to Braver’s work.

“We believe he was strategically targeting yards that had these signs,” Brokos said. “It seemed like he knew exactly where to go. He pulled right up to these homes, got out and pulled out the sign. I do believe he had done some prior reconnaissance.”

Another sign in the neighborhood was defaced, with the word “Israel” scribbled over and replaced by the word “Slaughter.” A skull was drawn on top of the sign’s Star of David. It is not known if there is a connection between the incident and the signs that were stolen.

Brokos said the incidents illustrate why Federation has created a Virtual Block Watch Program.

Those participating in the voluntary program register their address and then, if a crime against the Jewish community is committed, Federation will reach out and ask the participants to provide camera coverage from the time of the criminal activity.

“The whole notion is to expedite obtaining video evidence if something has happened,” Brokos explained. “A lot of times, police have to go door-to-door in a neighborhood canvas. This will expedite the response time because we’ll know who has camera coverage and is willing to share that information.”

Decals that can be affixed to doors or windows are distributed to people participating in the program.