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Mystery surrounding stolen campaign signs ahead of Newton municipal elections



NEWTON, N.C. Local Charlotte News — Going through downtown Newton, it’s kind of hard to miss. Signs for every candidate under the sun, with many of the campaigning being done for Newton City Council and the municipal elections coming up on November 2.

But many of those candidates have had a problem.

“You go out and check your signs and keep them straight,” said Ed Sain, who is currently campaigning to keep his seat on council. “But you go out and the signs are gone.”

Sain said he’s had 28 signs stolen so far.

Candidates Roy Johnson, John Stiver and Ivey Robinson said they have each had issues with stolen signs in high amounts, roughly 15 to 20 each.

Other candidates have reportedly had the same issues. Sain said at least one incident may have been captured on video.

“The video that I gave to the police department shows some boys taking them and throwing them down the bank,” said Sain.

But Sain said that may not account for the sheer amount missing throughout Newton.

Candidates are aware of the potential for signs being stolen during campaigning, but noted the sheer amount of signs being stolen or vandalized is more than in previous election cycles.

Sain filed a report with Newton Police, who said they are currently investigating the thefts and vandalism.

It is a Class 3 misdemeanor in North Carolina to steal or vandalize a political sign that has been lawfully placed. Each candidate FOX 46 spoke with noted the permission they received to place their signage in various locations.

FOX 46 also heard from other candidates in for office outside of Newton, who said they have had some signs of theirs stolen, but nothing to the degree of what’s been happening in Newton.

“I don’t know if it’s somebody that’s just going around to the local cities just vandalizing signs,” said candidate Ivey Robinson.

“It’s kind of sad,” said candidate Ray Johnson. “I hope everyone would run individually based on themselves, and let the voters decide.”

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“The signs are just one part of the advertising that you do to get people voting for you,” said candidate John Stiver. “But it is an important part. It is seen for anywhere from 30 to 45 days.”

As the case is being investigated, those FOX 46 spoke with noted that there seems to be no suspicion among the candidates themselves because so many have been victims.

They also noted that the race for Newton City Council, which appears to be getting the brunt of the sign thefts and vandalism, is non-partisan.

Many of the candidates noted, though, that if it is politically motivated, why it would be happening?

“I don’t want anyone to take my signs, I don’t want anybody to take theirs,” said Sain. “Make it fair for everybody.”

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