Charges have been dropped against a campaign volunteer who was accused of stealing election yard signs this past April along Route 422 in North Londonderry Township.
As reported previously by LebTown, on April 27, Ames campaign volunteer Gordon Tomb was issued a non-traffic citation by North Londonderry Township Police for Disorderly Conduct over the alleged removal of a total of 12 political signs from the entrance area of Walmart over three separate occasions.
At a hearing June 17, Judge Carl Garver dropped the disorderly conduct charges against Tomb.
The charges against Tomb stemmed from a phone call made by Better PA PAC to North Londonderry Township Police informing them that their signs had been removed from the road near Walmart, and that they suspected Tomb of the act.
When LebTown spoke with Tomb by phone in April, he admitted to taking the signs, noting that he believed the signs were intentionally misleading and meant primarily to incite the campaign.
“I thought I had no choice but to go out and remedy the situation,” he noted. Tomb said at the time that he planned to fight the charges, but did note that he had also admitted to police that he had taken the signs. “The bottom line, I could not lie to a police officer, and I’m not going to lie about it.”
The Ames campaign previously emphasized that Tomb had not been acting on the campaign’s behalf. “Mr. Tomb absolutely acted of his own accord,” said Ames campaign spokesperson Lauri-Jo Folmer. “We certainly understand and share his frustration over the signs, but we do not – and will not – authorize or condone such actions.”
Both Tomb and Better PA PAC have claimed that their First Amendment rights were violated by the other side’s actions. Better PA PAC spokesman Mike Barley previously told LebTown, “They were trying to shield the public from the message, which they might not like but it’s true. If our signs were not legal to be there, neither were theirs. In our opinion, it was a First Amendment issue.”
“The signs were placed in a manner that interfered with the message of the Ames signs and infringed on Bill Ames’ right of free expression,” said Tomb in a release announcing that the charges against him had been dropped.
Ames ultimately went on to win a spot in the general election, having defeated Better PA PAC backed candidate Matt Shirk. Ames will join fellow incumbent Bob Phillips on the Republican side of the ballot come November.