RALEIGH, N.C. — Political signs are vanishing at a high rate from front yards across the Triangle.
It is a problem Republican and Democratic parties expect will only get worse in the next three weeks.
This political season, yard signs are a top crop in North Carolina neighborhoods.
Tyler Hoover has made two trips to pick up Bush-Cheney signs from the state Republican headquarters.
The North Carolina State University student had Republican signs in his yard last week for one day before someone stole them.
"I know there are people around here who support Kerry and stuff, but we couldn't believe people actually take signs out of people's yards," he said.
Republican party activists waited to distribute signs, expecting thieves to strike. In some cases, it is worse than they imagined with theft turning into vandalism.
"It's voter intimidation and whoever's doing it needs to stop, needs to be caught," said Bill Peasley of the state Republican Party.
The thieves are not just targeting Republicans. Signs for Democrats are disappearing, too.
"We laugh about it because it's happened so much now," Kerry supporter Patrick Humphrey said.
Humphrey is on his fourth Kerry-Edwards sign. The replacement went up just a few days ago.
Democrats say it is not uncommon for several signs on a particular street to disappear at the same time.
"It's a tight campaign, it's a heated campaign, so the anxiety's high. So when you lose 20 in an area, you know about it pretty quick," said Bill Padgett of the state Democratic Party.
It is not just a problem in the Triangle.
In Person County, resident John Clayton's Kerry-Edwards sign was stolen. He made a more permanent allegiance by mowing his candidate's name in his yard.
It is a misdemeanor to steal the signs from a yard.