June 8, 2023

Josh Highlander’s son is afraid of the boogeyman. While playing with his mother in the yard, their basketball rolled toward the woods. She was shocked to see a figure standing in their woods wearing a camouflage “leafy jacket.” She quickly brought her son back in the house and alerted Josh.

By the time Josh came out, the stranger was nowhere to be seen. But Josh soon discovered that a camera he used to monitor game on his property was missing. He called police to report the theft. They responded that the camera was in the possession of the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR). In the weeks following, Josh did not receive a warrant nor was he given any hunting citations. Josh’s son was afraid to go outside alone for weeks afterward and continues to talk about the scary man in the woods.

The 30 acres Josh owns outside Richmond is private land. When he built his home a few years ago, he purchased and posted more than 100 “private property” signs so that he could make that clear.

Now, Josh and the Institute for Justice are suing in state court to get his camera back, to protect his home, and to restore the right of all Virginians to be secure on their land