09/29/04 — Meanness: Those caught pilfering signs could be in for big trouble

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Meanness: Those caught pilfering signs could be in for big trouble

The caller must have been motivated by real concern, because he was a politician and he didn’t even care if his name didn’t get in the paper.

His concern was about his campaign signs.

It happens every election in Wayne County.

People running for office have yard signs printed and mounted on metal holders, and their supporters post them on their lawns. They have bigger signs painted and post them at advantageous places along roadsides.

Having gone to all that expense and trouble, they fall victim to vandals and thieves.

The caller, a veteran of the political wars in Wayne County, said someone had been destroying or stealing his signs during the last couple of weeks. Not just his, he said, but those of other candidates, too — including, possibly, his own opponent.

An office-seeker is wise not to complain publicly about this until he knows who is responsible. It might incite further thievery, either against him or someone else.

In the meantime, there is little he can do. Unless a miscreant is caught red-handed or someone reports him, he can hardly be stopped.

But if he is caught, it’s a serious matter.

Some of the signs bearing the caller’s name had been taken from yards. That could add a charge of trespassing to those of larceny and vandalism. Even the destruction of the bigger signs beside the roads could involve trespassing, because the caller had received permission from the landowner to put them there.

It is a dastardly deed. Yard signs have become an important part of the election process. Anyone who interferes should be prosecuted to the utmost.

Published in Editorials on September 29, 2004 11:27 AM