Election season just kicked off and the Payson Police Department is already investigating several cases of political sign thefts.
Recently, a large sign for the Democratic headquarters was taken off the west side of the building, at 110 E. Bonita St. Chris Senko, Gila County Democrats chair, said the sign was mounted 11 feet off the ground.
“It has been there about a month, was seen on Friday, and was missing on Saturday,” Senko said.
Police Chief Ron Tischer said they have received a few complaints about political signs. A sign by Big Lots was taken for Hallie Overman Jackman and a sign on Westerly Drive was damaged.
“No suspects in any of the other calls yet,” he said.
During the 2020 election, Payson Town Council candidates claimed hundreds of signs were defaced. The complaints continued into the general, but on a smaller scale. The Payson Police Department said both Trump and Biden signs were defaced.
According to state statute, it is illegal “for any person to knowingly remove, alter, deface or cover any political sign of any candidate for public office or in support of or opposition to any ballot measure.”
The statute includes any flyers, mailers or handouts, as well.
If caught for this offense, the state has made political media defacement a Class 2 misdemeanor with a fine up to $750 and a jail sentence of up to four months.