A professor at the University of North Carolina Asheville faces a misdemeanor theft charge after sheriff’s officials allege she was caught red-handed stealing political signs along the roadway.
Mike Summey, treasurer of the political action committee Angry Buncombe Taxpayers, told police he confronted Amanda Wray and another unidentified accomplice at the intersection of Leicester Highway and Mt. Carmel Road, where he took a photo of Wray’s license plate as the duo loaded a stolen sign into her car, the Citizen Times reports.
Wray is an associate professor of English at UNC Asheville who teaches the course “Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies” and describes herself as an “activist who focuses her research on individual agency within the everyday to interrupt oppressions,” according to her bio on “Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies.”
UNC Asheville associate professor of English, Amanda Wray, accused of stealing a political sign off the side of a highway in Buncombe County. Arrested and charged w/ misdemeanor. @WLOS_13 #avlnews pic.twitter.com/MF7vKKiFtJ
— Darren Botelho (@DarrenBotelho) October 7, 2018
Summey told the Citizen Times he was driving home around 10 p.m. Friday night and noticed several Angry Buncombe Taxpayers signs missing New Leicester Highway before coming across Wray and her partner in crime pulling up two more signs near Ingles.
“I told them that stealing political signs was against the law, and that I’d call the police,” he said. “They just kept right on walking while I was trying to talk to them.”
Summey said Angry Buncombe Taxpayers bought about 600 signs – which read “Stop Theft & Corruption! Drain The Swamp in Buncombe County Vote Republican November 6th” – and installed them throughout the county, and he estimates about 100 have gone missing or been defaced.
“If you’ve got a difference of opinion, you don’t go out stealing or damaging the property of people with other opinions,” he said. “And if you’re an intelligent person, like an associate professor, you should know better.”
“My question is real simple,” Summey told WLOS. “What is a 38-year-old woman with a Ph.D., that’s a college professor, doing out at 10 o’clock at night stealing political signs? What does that say to our young people? What does that say to the community about some of the people that are working down at our local university?”
Buncombe County Sheriff Van Duncan said Wray was charged with one misdemeanor count of stealing a political sign and turned herself in to law enforcement over the weekend.
Duncan said Summey’s photo of her license plate at the scene provided the evidence necessary to prosecute the professor for a crime that’s rarely enforced.
“It’s not often the case that people actually come upon people in the act of stealing a sign,” he said. “Charges for that kind of thing are few and far between in Buncombe County. But it is a law, and it’s one that we will enforce if somebody can get that kind of evidence.”
Investigators are working to identify the second woman involved in the theft, Duncan said.
Wray wouldn’t discuss the situation with WLOS, and UNC-A also had little to say about the ordeal.
“This is an issue between a citizen of Asheville and law enforcement, so we have no further comment,” UNCA spokeswoman Sarah Broberg told the Citizen Times.
Summey contends Wray’s behavior speaks for itself.
“If these are the people teaching our young people, no wonder some of them are growing up conflicted,” he said.
Students in her classes offered their take on Wray on Rate My Professor.
“She’s a bit of an activist,” one student wrote, “but she truly listens and make syou think critically about current and historic issues.”
“If you enjoy writing single-spaced papers go for it,” another posted. “There was too much writing and too much discussion on racism and feminism.”
Wray now faces a Class 3 misdemeanor with a maximum of 20 days in jail and a $200 fine, according to Liberty Lady.
Of course, Wray isn’t the only liberal activist teacher caught in the act of stealing political signs leading up to the 2018 midterm election.
Jacksonville, Florida high school teacher stealing my right to free speech & yours! Keep this video going, fire 🔥 up our base! VOTE RED ❗️❗️❗️🇺🇸❗️❗️🇺🇸❗️❗️ pic.twitter.com/GlQK4OovX1
— Karen O❌ (@mrskolson) September 22, 2018
Jacksonville, Florida special education teacher Mary Dobbins was busted last month swiping signs from the local GOP headquarters when a concerned citizen recorded the stunt and posted about it online, EAGnews reports.
Local GOP volunteer Karen Morton told WTLV about 15-20 also went missing earlier in the month, and she reported both instances to the police. Dobbins, who teaches at Westside High School, claims she pulled up the signs by “accident.”
“ … Dobbins told First Coast News she thought the signs had been placed illegally,” according to the news site. “She says she later realized her mistake, called the GOP to explain and then returned the signs.”
Morton and others at the office contend the teacher never contacted them, and the theft is now under investigation, which could lead to misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the total cost of the missing signs.