Metro

North Reading woman arrested for defacing Trump sign

A North Reading woman was arrested Saturday morning after she allegedly vandalized a political campaign sign in Andover and nearly ran over the owner of the sign when she drove off, authorities said.

Andover police responded to a call at Jenkins Road after a homeowner reported that his campaign sign supporting Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump had been vandalized with spray paint, Andover Police Chief Patrick Keefe said in a statement.

The homeowner told officers he confronted the woman, who then allegedly drove away in an erratic manner, forcing him to jump out of the way of the oncoming vehicle.

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Susan Bryant, 57, was charged with four counts of defacing property and one count of assault by means of a dangerous weapon.

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Bryant, according to police, had defaced signs at the same address on multiple prior occasions.

“During this presidential election season, opinions as to who the next president should be may differ,” Keefe said. “The ability to express those opinions openly and freely is the cornerstone of democracy in our country.

“Our concern is when people take it upon themselves to wrongly extend their ability of expression into vandalism and assault,” he added. “The victim in this case was only protecting his freedom of speech and expression.”

The sign owner was not injured and said he would replace the ruined sign, according to the statement.

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Bryant is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Lawrence District Court.

Reenat Sinay can be reached at reenat.sinay@globe.com.