My “Arrest” for Stealing Pine Straw


Dear Friends of Election Integrity…

In hopes that our supporters would get my side of this story before they read about it in hostile media, I decided not to hit the hay until I could get this posted. My life officially went off the rails last night, but … in the immortal words of that Poet Laurent, Jimmy Buffet…”it’s my own d— fault.”

Here’s how it happened: Shortly after leaving a group of friends Thursday evening (at a prayer meeting of all places), I received a call from a very polite Officer Taylor of the Raleigh Police Department, advising me of a warrant that had been issued for my arrest. At first, I thought it was Steve, pulling a ruse on me; but it wasn’t, so I went home, picked up my wife, and both of us went downtown to turn myself in. A few hours later, I was released… but not before I spent about 30 minutes in a holding cell.

The charge was just larceny…but there was a problem. Because of what I was accused of stealing, I’m actually facing a Class H Felony under NC general statutes. I was arrested for stealing pine needles…and that’s a Class H Felony! I’m probably going to need a good criminal lawyer.  (Pro bono? Anyone?)

Pine Statute

What started out as a prank, around mid March, apparently didn’t seem all that funny to the property manager of a certain office complex. I now know that he saw me “borrowing” a few bales of pine needles after I had put on a cool looking ski mask. He didn’t say anything at the time, but he must have really had it out for me….

Late last night, in front of a Magistrate, I learned that the dude had security camera footage of the incident that he said “proved” it was me. I tried to explain what the stupid stunt was about, but a preliminary hearing is not the place for it. Nobody wanted to hear about my a warped sense of humor. I should have zipped it. Guess the property manager was madder than I realized.

For those who haven’t experienced arrest, there’s not a lot to compare it to. Fingerprints, mug shot, detention, removal of shoe laces…what more can I say. With inflation being like it’s been lately, a picture is probably worth around 25,000 words, so my critics will love this!

Oh the joys of a mug shot....

Oh the joys of a mug shot….

The most amazing part of the entire ordeal is that stealing a vote (or even a whole bunch of votes) is only a Class I Felony. That’s an “I” (as in “sounds like “eye”), which is one level below an “H” the penalty level for stealing pine needles!

I guess, way back in the Jim Crow era, the cronies in control of North Carolina’s legislature and governor’s mansion decided it.

That’s right… in North Carolina, stealing pine needles is a more dangerous to the public than stealing elections.

If anything good comes out of this embarrassing chapter of my life, I guess it would be my best chance at highlighting that horribly low priority for vote fraud in our so-called “progressive” state.

Oh and then there’s this: Since “attempting” a crime is one level below the actual crime, that makes “attempted vote fraud” only a Class 1 Misdemeanor…and if I stood out by a liquor store during early voting, soliciting people to go commit vote fraud, it’s only a Class B Misdemeanor. I’m no attorney, but that’s what a criminal attorney told me. (Where was he tonight?)  In other words, for sentencing purposes, soliciting a crime is two classes below the actual crime itself.

Arrest Report

Click image to see DeLancy’s (simi-redacted) arrest report.

Fact is, we once had a District Attorney explain that low-priority aspect of the law against vote fraud. It happened when in his office, while we were nagging him about the six cases of interstate double voting we had found in his district. He used that sorry excuse to explain why he wasn’t going to bother prosecuting our suspected perps. One was even “referred” to his office by the NC State Board of Elections, so we knew it was solid! Anyway, he had higher priority crimes to prosecute…like murderers…meth labs operators…and pine needle thieves.

I don’t mean to sound like sour grapes, but it’s almost worth getting a police record if it would help highlight that fun fact about the non-nod, wink-wink way in which legislators have historically viewed vote fraud. Why else would it be grouped in the lowest class of felony in the entire general statutes?

But for now… our organization’s election law attorney will call me and yell at me for writing this blog post, but I wanted the VIP team to hear about it from me before they read it anywhere else.

I apologize to our supporters for my bad judgment on this occasion.

The Board of VIP will probably meet soon to decide whether or not to boot me from the organization I helped create, but that’s the price people are supposed to pay when they make bad decisions!

Updated around 2:00 PM after getting some more sleep:

When it comes to the above statutes, we’re not kidding! So be sure to click the links if you have doubts. The pine needle law happened in 1997, amid pressure from the Pine Needles Association…which is a $50 million-per-year industry.

Our great friend, Jan Wilson, surmised that the reason lawmakers list vote fraud as a “Class I” felony is because the “I” looks a lot like a “1” and that just sounds “badder” to the average citizen who believes the pundits when they claim that “voter fraud is such a serious crime that nobody would ever do it.”

While vote fraud is a serious federal crime, the long pole in the tent is getting the US Department of Justice motivate to prosecute. We’ve briefed them on our findings in Florida-NC double voting research…but we’re still waiting for their first prosecution.

I added the arrest report that somehow dropped off of my 4 A.M. post. I was pretty tired by then and don’t even know what day it is. But then….somebody texted me this message: “Happy Atheist’s Day (Ps 53:1)” I looked up the verse and it says something about a “fool.” Hmmmmm.


Jay DeLancy


There was still confusion in a few readers’ minds, so…to be clear: This was an April Fool’s prank story! If you were taken in, and are mad at us for fooling you, please withhold your anger until after you’ve read the final update on story of Jay DeLancy’s April 1, 2016 “arrest,” by clicking here. It explains the “strategery” behind the spoof story.