Couple caught taking down Black Lives Matter sign in northern Minnesota

According to the Cook County Sheriff Deputy's report, one of the vandals wanted to "send a message" by tampering with the sign.

According to the Cook County Sheriff Deputy's report, one of the vandals wanted to "send a message" by tampering with the sign. Facebook

As June rolled into July, Andy DeLisi, the owner of Big Bear Lodge out in Grand Marais, discovered the Black Lives Matter signs at the edge of his property had gone missing.

He says he was disappointed, if not entirely surprised, that whoever took his signs couldn't have "just rolled on by and left the sign alone. If everyone is about freedom of speech, then let it be so.”

The next time around, DeLisi planned ahead. He put out another sign – this one handmade, out of painted plywood – and set up a security camera. On Tuesday evening, the feed captured two people meddling with it, and a pale pink car parked nearby. The name emblazoned on the side of the vehicle was “Mary Kay.”

DeLisi has no idea whether they were the same folks that messed with his other signs, but they clearly didn’t think much of this one. He says they picked it up and dumped it in a nearby ditch.

The next day, he selected a few stills from the feed and called up the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.

“Andrew told me he just wanted the people talked to about going on other people’s property and moving things that aren’t theirs,” a report by a Cook County deputy reads. A little research revealed that the pale pink cars are associated with high-up Mary Kay sales reps. Other than that, the department didn’t have much to go on.

But DeLisi also posted the photos on his Facebook page, where they blew up and got shared nearly 500 times by the end of the week – to say nothing of various reposts on Twitter. A few commenters said they recognized the pair as Tom and Linda Bergerson from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who happened to be staying at a nearby resort.

According to the report, the deputy found the pale pink car parked at the place in question and confirmed it belonged to a “Tom and Linda.” Then the deputy approached them for a quick chat.

“I told them I had photos of them moving a Black Lives Matter sign and asked what they were doing,” the report says.

We don’t really know for sure what they were doing. Calls to Linda’s work phone went unanswered, and Mary Kay didn’t respond to interview requests on whether the company was aware of what happened. (A few of those tweets about the incident had been directed at Mary Kay).

But the report says Linda told the deputy she’d gone to talk to DeLisi, but he hadn’t been there at the time, “so they moved the sign.”

“She told me she wanted to discuss the political subject and wanted to send a message,” the report says.

The deputy reportedly reminded Linda that the sign “was not her property” and therefore she should leave it alone or risk prosecution, and the couple allegedly agreed not to go back. The deputy reported back to DeLisi, and just like that, the case was pretty much closed.

Well, almost. Despite Linda reportedly wanting to “send a message,” it seemed the pair weren’t exactly pleased with their newfound attention. Later that afternoon, the report says, Tom called up the deputy and told him someone “from the radio” had called asking about the vandalized sign. He didn’t want to talk to the radio, he said.

“I told him people are very sensitive to this topic right now, and word spreads fast up here,” the deputy wrote. He advised him to call 911 if he had an emergency, but in the meantime, if he didn’t want to talk, he could block the numbers.

DeLisi says he hasn’t heard from Tom or Linda, and he’s not expecting to.

“We know there are folks that don’t necessarily agree with the sentiment [of Black Lives Matter], and we get a lot of travelers on the scenic byways,” he says. “But here, it seems, most of the folks are pretty solid.”

Here's DeLisi's Facebook post in its entirety. 

The people in the pictures attempting to remove our Black Lives Matters sign have been located. A Sheriff Deputy spoke...

Posted by Andy DeLisi on Wednesday, July 15, 2020