May 26, 2018
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Turner’s Lady Liberty stolen, caught in sign wars on same-sex marriage vote

By Kathryn Skelton, Sun Journal

TURNER, Maine — Overnight on Thursday someone stole a 10-foot papier-mache Statue of Liberty from the corner of Routes 4 and 117 and left a note on the ground:

“I guess Christians aren’t moral after all.”

It was, Carolyn Viger believes, retribution gone awry.

For almost two weeks the Lady Liberty had stood next to a large, plywood “No on Question 1” sign near the Calvary Baptist Church. The thieves, Viger believes, blame her for repeatedly taking down nearby “Yes on Question 1” signs.

But she says she didn’t do it.

“I would have thought they would have taken the ‘no’ sign before they would have taken her,” Viger said Friday morning. “We want her back. Give us our Liberty.”

The art piece, a rabbit-wire frame covered in papier-mache by volunteers at the Turner Village Church, made its town debut several years ago during the Fourth of July parade. It had been stored in someone’s kitchen since.

Carolyn’s husband, Wayne Viger, a local volunteer for Protect Marriage Maine, had been setting the statue out each morning and taking it home each night after getting permission from Calvary. On Thursday evening, he didn’t have time to get out there.

“When my husband got up this morning, he had this sick feeling in his stomach,” Viger said. When he drove out to check at 6:15 a.m., it was gone. Thieves took the statue and the 10-foot two-by-four to which it was tethered. They left the note beside a newspaper article about it being illegal to steal campaign signs.

“Yet they took our Statue of Liberty and threw one of our signs over the bank,” Viger said. “The hypocrites who did this are doing much more.”

Viger had seen the “Yes on Question 1” signs pop up along that stretch of Route 4 only to be quickly taken down and new signs planted in their place, but she wasn’t part of it, she said.

“They’re getting the wrong idea,” she said. “I would know better than to touch somebody’s sign.”

State Trooper Eric Paquette is investigating. He wasn’t optimistic about Liberty’s intact return.

“If we happen to see it, we will take possession of it,” he said. “Needless to say, we’re not calling out the National Guard to do a search for it.”

“I can’t imagine that she hasn’t been totally destroyed,” Viger said. “We’re hoping to get her back. We just want her back.”

There had been no word on another high-profile theft in town Monday of Turner’s Bicentennial Bell.


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