Liberal Activist Accused of Stealing GOP Lawmaker's GPS-Tagged Campaign Sign
Following the disappearance of Rep. Tom Reed's (R-N.Y.) campaign signs, members of his campaign team placed electronic tracking devices inside the lawmaker's signs to catch the alleged thief.
A tracker in one sign led them to the home of Gary McCaslin, a liberal activist and leader of the anti-Reed group Citizens for a Better Southern Tier.
A video released by Reed's office shows Reed campaign manager Nicholas Weinstein confronting McCaslin at his house.
"I can't believe this, Nick. You tracked this sign to my house?" McCaslin says in the video. "Is Tom Reed that desperate that he has to put little things like that inside of a sign and track it?"
Weinstein retrieved the allegedly stolen sign, but McCaslin refused to return the tracking device.
"You found the sign, I'm keeping the tracker — you call the police," McCaslin says in the video.
McCaslin has been charged with petit larceny, with a court appearance scheduled on July 19, but his attorney, Christina Sonsire, told The Ithaca Journal that he was practicing stewardship when he removed Reed's sign along with others on July 2, six days after the primary election.
Sonsire also said that an hour after Weinstein left and prior to being charged, McCaslin decided to go to Reed's congressional office to return the tracker, but was told by the staffers that they wouldn't accept it.
"There is no factual predicate to show that Gary McGaslin committed a crime," Sonsire said. "We feel strongly that there was no criminal wrongdoing. This shines a light into just how inappropriate the political climate has become."
Reed is running for re-election in New York's 23rd Congressional District against Democratic challenger Tracy Mitrano.