A campaign sign crook has stolen or vandalized signs for at least three constable candidates, leaving candidates and supporters left wondering just who to blame for this “chicken” crime.
“I’m not really sure what to think of it,” said Joe Martin who works at Rim Country Hay and Grain on Tyler Parkway. Wednesday night, signs for candidates Michelle Dyer and Kevin Christensen were stolen from the front of his store.
“I think it’s really chicken of people to do that,” Martin added.
Colt White has also had signs stolen, but he declined to comment for this story. The fourth candidate, Chris Harold, could not be reached before press time.
Tampering with campaign signs is a Class 2 misdemeanor.
Oddly, the constable position is not overtly political. “You don’t influence politics,” said Christensen. “I would find it unusual that the constable would be (targeted).”
The office generally delivers court papers, among other duties.
In the meantime, candidates have campaigned hard to win the contested seat. Besides expense — signs can cost anywhere from $8 to $18 and banners up to $39 — candidates have expended effort.
“It takes a lot of time and effort to get those signs up,” said Dyer, who has lost a handful of signs and two banners. “I’ve been out until dark nearly every night for several weeks.”
Both Dyer and Christensen seem undecided whether the act is purely vandalism or deliberate sabotage.
“Vandalized? I don’t know that I would call it that,” Christensen said. “Maybe just abused and toyed with.”
Dyer said she feels violated. Although she hasn’t yet contacted police, the missing feed store sign may have pushed Dyer past the point of passivity. “I think I will make a police report now,” she said.
One recent day, Dyer walked out of Walmart, and one of the signs was resting in the back of her truck. She said this occurred shortly after she “put out the word if I catch anybody, I’m going to prosecute.”
Another one of Dyer’s signs, posted in Strawberry at Fossil Creek Road, was on the ground with a “big, heavy piece of plywood” on top and someone had stepped on it. Similarly, an acquaintance of Christensen’s daughter found one of his signs on the ground at Rumsey Park, also stomped on. Besides the one recovered at Rumsey, eight of Christensen’s signs have vanished. Others have legitimately been removed because they sat in a right-of-way. However, he received those back from whatever official entity removed them.
“I really haven’t come to any conclusion on it,” said Christensen, adding that nothing leads him to conclude the offense is personal.
Although tempted to call police, Dyer wonders what recourse they have without evidence. “I just really don’t know what to think. I wish whoever is doing it would stop,” she said.
Christensen has also not contacted police, but said his breaking point is near.