A Virginia man is being charged with taking two signs dedicated to victims of the Sandy Hook school shootings. According to reports, the signs were located in Connecticut and New Jersey. Charges are pending against the man in those two states for grand larceny.
Documents indicate that the defendant has a criminal history with various charges against him over the past few years. Some charges the man has faced include disorderly conduct, destruction of property and trespassing. He is being represented by an attorney in an unrelated case that is ongoing.
The 28-years-old defendant has also been charged in Fairfax County. The Virginia charges are for possessing stolen property. Police allege that after stealing one of the signs the man called one victim's family and taunted them. He reportedly told the family that the shooting was a hoax. He also told them he took the sign.
During a press conference regarding the incident, a Virginia police chief said that the man doesn't believe the Sandy Hook shootings happened. She referred to his assertion as irrational.
According to police, the signs in question were taken from playgrounds. In response to the missing signs, people in the communities put up multiple handmade replacements with images of peace signs and hearts on them.
When looking at the charges of grand larceny for two vinyl signs, which likely aren't worth a great deal of money, this may seem like a minor crime. However, the man is facing charges in three states, and the relation of his crime to the school shootings is likely to create both public awareness and emotional backlash. All of these issues, as well as previous allegations and convictions, should be considered in planning a defense.
Source: The Newtown Bee, "Virginia Man Arrested For Theft Of Sandy Hook Memorial Signs" Matthew Barakat, Jun. 02, 2014