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Corning man charged for taking political sign back home

CORNING, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - A sign belonging to Congressman Tom Reed's campaign landed a Corning man in trouble.

The campaign said the man, Gary McCaslin, stole the sign. Members of the campaign approached his home trying to retrieve a sign.

"You tracked this sign to my house," McCaslin said, in a video taken by a campaign staffer outside his home. "Is Tom Reed that desperate that he has to put little things inside the sign to track it?"

"Everyone deserves the right to make their case to the voters," Nick Weinstein, Tom Reed's campaign manager, said. "Tearing down someone's sign, engaging in theft is not the way to make your case."

McCaslin's defense attorney said he was simply cleaning up four signs found laying on the ground after the Democratic primaries. One of those signs belonged to the campaign.

"He took all four of these signs that were laying down, put them in his trunk and took them to his home with the goal of discarding them at some point," Christina Sonsire, McCaslin's attorney, said, "because he believed them to be discarded trash laying on the side of the road."

The sign had a GPS in it allowing the campaign to track the sign back to McCaslin's home.  

"We had dozens disappear and that's when we invested in a GPS tracker," Weinstein said. "We were curious to know who was taking them."

"The embedding of a tracking device into property, into a sign that's placed into public property," Sonsire said, "I think that's something that's unsettling and certainly it was unsettling to Gary."

The defense, adamant there was no wrong-doing. 

"He did something that a lot of people would, again, six days after the election, seeing signs laying down, he grabbed them," Sonsire said.

"Follow the golden rule, pretend you're being watched even if no one is watching you," Weistein said. "I would say that if it doesn't belong to you don't take it, that would be my suggestion."

McCaslin will be arraigned on petit larceny charges in the Town of Corning Court on July 19.

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