FALMOUTH — Perhaps you read about the angry moms who became political vandals by stealing Trump campaign signs here in Falmouth. Well, since I’m the guy who planted those signs, I thought I should weigh in on the subject. Here’s my side of the story.

Early in October, I was asked by a friend if I was willing to help put up some Trump campaign signs here in Falmouth and in the nearby community of Scarborough. I agreed to help because I believe strongly in our First Amendment right to free speech, so after first checking with the local police about placement of the signs and reading up on the law pertaining to such, I got to work. Little did I know what a backlash of hatred and anger my actions would provoke.

Route 1 runs right through the center of town in our little version of Peyton Place. With broad, tree-lined sidewalks and grassy strips running for a mile and a half on both sides of the road, it seemed like the perfect venue for me to place the signs.

In Scarborough, I chose a section of Route 1 that cuts straight through a mile-long crossing of a 3,200-acre saltwater marsh, the largest in the state. There, I wanted the signs to have some aesthetic impact, like the environmental art of Christo, who erected a cloth fence along a 24-mile-long stretch of California coastline near Sonoma. Since Maine law requires signs for the same candidate to be at least 30 feet apart (among other things), I took that as my cue. In Falmouth, I placed the signs at equal intervals of 35 to 40 feet, up one side of the street and down the other, along a total distance of about three miles. In Scarborough, I placed them on one side of the road only along a one-mile stretch.

All told, I planted some 500 signs that first day (400 in Falmouth and 100 in Scarborough), in broad daylight and to a madrigal of honking horns from passing motorists. That was on Sunday, Oct. 2.

Almost immediately thereafter, the backlash started.

On Monday morning, I drove down the avenue in Falmouth to see several of the signs missing, which bothered me because each and every one of them had been legally placed along a public right of way, and with each new day I awoke to find that more and more signs had been taken down during the night. I was thus forced to spend a good portion of each day replacing the stolen signs because I refused to be silenced. Who was doing this nasty stuff, I wondered?

Then people started getting caught.

On Oct. 17, a Scarborough man, 37-year-old Amos Goss, was issued a civil summons for removing 10 of the signs I had put up along Scarborough Marsh. He did it, he said, because his two children, age 5 and 7, were upset by them.

Earlier that weekend, three women – Heidi Kendrick, 42, of Portland, along with Falmouth residents Martha Murdick, 44, and 52-year-old Elizabeth “Betta” Stothart – were caught red-handed stealing about 40 of the 400 Trump signs I had put up in Falmouth.

After informing the women that they had stolen someone else’s property, the officer took the signs from their car and sent them home. The next day, however, he issued summonses to the three for theft by unauthorized taking – a criminal offense here in Maine.

Betta Stothart told us in an Oct. 25 Washington Post piece some of the reasons that motivated her to break the law and commit a crime, but she closed her commentary with words of advice for “anyone who might be on the verge of doing something stupid. It’s not worth it. Find a healthy way to express your outrage.”

But here’s where this story gets even nastier.

On Sunday morning, Oct. 16, I awoke to find that every single one of my 400 Trump campaign signs in Falmouth had been stolen during the night. No one was ever caught for this malicious act, but I sure hope it wasn’t the moms who had acted out on the previous Friday night.

Betta Stothart now encourages other women to find healthier ways to express their rage, but I have to wonder if she and her friends would be so apparently contrite if they hadn’t been caught. If not, they are as nasty as the candidate they so vocally support.