Dozens of campaign signs throughout Pocatello are disappearing
Updated On: Oct 30 2013 03:03:09 PM CDT
Ever since incumbent mayoral candidate Brian Blad started putting his campaign signs up around town just over one week ago, he has noticed them disappearing.
"I would hope it is not any of my competitors or anyone vying for my job," Blad said.
Bannock County Deputy Prosecutor Ryan Godfrey said it is not unusual to see campaign signs destroyed during an election.
"It happens every time there is a campaign of some kind," Godfrey said. "We see on some level, somebody is out stealing or destroying signs."
But, that does not make it acceptable, or even legal.
"It would be the same as if you vandalized their car or their home. It is their property and they have a right to maintain their property in a normal state and not have somebody write on it or destroy it in any way," Godfrey said.
He also mentioned, under Idaho code, this is called "malicious injury to property" and if proven guilty, could land someone behind bars for up to one year, fined, and charged with a felony if the damages exceed $1,000 to the property.
Blad said sign costs this election racked-up to about $1,200 for the signs alone, while he also used $1,000 worth of signs used in the previous election as well as $1,000 more in reinforcing bars.
Godfrey also mentioned the common culprits are kids who are just out to cause trouble.
However, Blad thinks otherwise.
"I think it is dirty politics, personally," Blad said. "I know nobody else will say that, but I think it is dirty politics."
He believes an organized group is behind the vandalism since only his signs have been destroyed in the same fashion throughout every region in Pocatello.
Blad estimates nearly 30 of his signs have gone missing, while the others have been torn apart and bent in half.
Mayoral candidate Roger Chase also spoke out against this sort of behavior.
"We always encourage our people when they are putting up signs to respect people's property and not to take down (other) people's signs," Chase said. "I think at the end of the day you just hope people will take care of each other's property and respect the people's right to campaign for who they want to campaign for."
Blad said overall, he is just worried about his supporters who have experienced this vandalism since they have signs in their yards.
"It is intimidating to them as a homeowner to have a sign in their yard because somebody is destroying them and it is an intimidation factor for them. It's not right."
Third mayoral candidate Paul Shepard also noticed Blad's campaign targeted as well.
"Please leave the signs alone," Shepard said. "After the election, I will donate mine to target practice."