Two teenage women have been charged with a hate crime for allegedly trying to burn a Donald Trump sign outside a store in Maryland with a car cigarette lighter.
Joy Shuford and D’Asia Perry, both 19, are accused of setting fire to the sign in Princess Anne, Maryland – about 90 miles southeast of Baltimore, last Friday.
The Delmarva Daily Times reports Perry was arrested first after surveillance footage identified her, and then Shuford turned herself over to police on Saturday.
Court documents state Shuford initially planned on pulling the sign down, however when she was physically unable to do so, she got out a car cigarette lighter and began to try to burn it.
‘Shuford stated that she returned to the vehicle, grabbed a lighter and went back to the sign to light it on fire.’
They have been hit with a number of offenses – including second-degree arson and committing a hate crime, the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office said.
‘The intentional burning of these political signs, along with the beliefs, religious views and race of this political affiliation, directly coincides with the victim,’ charging documents from Princess Anne police read, explaining why officers believed a hate crime had been committed.
Deputy chief fire marshal backed up the stance, according to the Baltimore Sun, by saying the alleged arson was motivated by: ‘discrimination or malice toward a particular group, or someone’s belief’.
Jamie Wink, who’s father owner the store where the sign was located, said they had it up outside to draw attention.
‘It’s been a pretty good attention-getter,’ he told the Sun. Wink then told the newspaper his family did support Trump during the election, but decided not to take it down after November’s vote.
The store sells guns and hunting gear.
Shuford and Perry face as long as 33 years behind bars and more than $40,000 in fines if they are found guilty.