Arrest made in theft of S.A.F.E. signs
Perinton doctor charged with petit larceny
by David Andreatta
A pediatrician from Perinton has been arrested in Wayne County for allegedly stealing lawn signs calling for the repeal of the state’s stringent new gun law.
Annamaria Kontor, 46, of Valewood Run, was charged with petit larceny on Thursday after the doctor was allegedly seen swiping “Repeal NY’s S.A.F.E. Act” s igns from the lawns of houses on East Townline Road in Williamson, according to the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office.
Chuck Steehler recalled pursuing Kontor in his vehicle after he said she plucked a sign from his daughter’s lawn and drove off in a Subaru station wagon. When he eventually caught up with her and demanded his daughter’s sign, he said Kontor refused and drove away. “I told her my daughter had phoned the police and she said, ‘Then let the cops come and get your sign,’ ” Steehler, 69, recalled. Sheriff Barry Virts said deputies tracked the doctor to her office, Williamson Pediatrics, on Old Ridge Road, where officers found five of t he signs in an outdoor trash bin.
Kontor was issued a ticket to appear in Williamson Town Court on Jan. 15, Virts said.
“Here’s my counsel: If you oppose (efforts to repeal the law), put a sign in your yard,” Virts said. “Exercise your First Amendment rights, don’t go try to trample on someone else’s.”
Attempts by the Democrat and Chronicle to reach Kontor by phone were unsuccessful. A receptionist at her Will iamson office said she was out and would not be in until Wednesday. A message left with a Rochester doctor believed to be her husband was not immediately returned. There was no listing for a home phone number.
A spokesman for Rochester General Health System, with which Williamson Pediatrics is affiliated, issued a brief statement acknowledging Kontor’s arrest and saying she had been with the Rochester General Medical Group in W ayne County since 2003.
“As is the case with any personnel matter, RGHS is unable to make any comment,” the statement read in part.
The alleged thefts were first reported by the Times of Wayne County .
Signs demanding the repeal of the controversial Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (S.A.F.E.) Act that took effect in the weeks after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre have become ubiquitous in the reg ion.
Like the law, signs calling for its undoing have provoked strong sentiments on both sides of the gun debate, and reports of their disappearance have surfaced periodically.
“Generally speaking, around the state, there have been numerous cases of missing signs,” said Ken Mathison, a spokesman for the Monroe County branch of the Shooters Committee on Political Education, a gun advocacy group t hat sells the signs.
Mathison estimated that as many as 30,000 signs are posted around the state, but said he had not heard of an arrest in a missing sign case until now.