A New York man, frustrated when his pro-Second Amendment sign kept disappearing, was surprised when the hidden camera he set up revealed the culprit to be a local cop.
Jon Gibson, of rural Lake Lincolndale, about 50 miles north of New York City, told FoxNews.com he set up a hunting field camera near the sign, which reads "Protect the Second Amendment," and features the silhouette of an assault rifle, after two mysteriously vanished. A third sign disappeared before the camera finally captured the sign stealer -- a police officer from the nearby Somers Police Department.
“It was pure shock to see,” Gibson said to FoxNews.com about first seeing the video recorded on Monday. “He had a huge smile on his face as he’s kicking down the sign.
“I was in total disbelief to see such criminal behavior from a law-enforcement officer,” he added.
As first reported on the Blaze news site, Gibson said he was fed up with his signs being continually stolen and hatched a plan to catch the thief red-handed.
Gibson’s lawyer, Richard Bombardo, told FoxNews.com that they are currently having his property surveyed to be certain that the signs were not on the public right-of-way, which, though on Gibson's property, would be restricted for signage.
“If the sign was close enough to public property, then they were within their right,” Bombardo said to FoxNews.com. “But if it was solely on his property, that’s where the issue is.”
Somers Town Supervisor Mary Beth Murphy told FoxNews.com that the signs were indeed on public property -- within 15 feet of the road -- and were removed to comply with town ordinances.
“The town does not allow signs in the right of way,” Murphy said. “The police chief had received numerous complaints from neighbors and it was determined that the sign was posted in the right of way.”
Murphy also denied Gibson's claim that the officer had attempted to destroy the sign.
“I have seen the images that were taken, but it is my understanding that he was loosening the sign from the ground,” she said. “It was brought to the Police Department and it is still intact and he (Gibson) would be able to come pick it up.”
However, images provided to FoxNews.com by Gibson clearly show the officer in mid-kick, snapping the post of the sign in half.
Murphy also said that there was never a fine issued, but that Gibson did receive a letter from the Somer Building Department.
Gibson says that he never received any sort of citation and that he’s been singled out as other signs in the area have been left undisturbed.
“This isn’t about the Second Amendment. My First Amendment and even my Fifth Amendment rights have been violated,” he said, explaining that words and image on the sign are protected by his right to free speech and the sign itself was taken from him without due process.
“I’m not quite sure where this is going to go, but what’s important here is that people need to defend their rights,” Gibson said.
Perry Chiaramonte is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @perrych