For months, we’ve heard stories about lost campaign signs with some subtle and some not so subtle finger pointing toward the supporters of opposing campaigns. Last week, I posted an article about a property manager taking down Bob Huber’s signs claiming proper permission was not obtained. This week in the Simi Valley Acorn there’s a report of a police stakeout on a Bob Huber campaign sign at the McDonald’s on Yosemite Ave. where more signs were disappearing. The results of the stakeout concluded the signs were being removed by a McDonald’s employee:
Like clockwork, at 4:30 a.m. a man removed the signs—including ones for council incumbent Glen Becerra—putting them in the back of his pickup truck.
When Arabian confronted the man, he discovered he wasn’t a thief, but a property maintenance worker, clad in a McDonald’s shirt.
Though permission to post the signs had been granted, this worker was apparently just unaware.
It’s the nature of the crime that prompts a stakeout by the Simi Valley Police. The dollar amount of the damage combined with the identifiable pattern of the crime offers an investigator an opportunity to solve it. The signs were apparently expensive and enough were stolen to qualify this as a felony.
Santino said it’s been frustrating to see sign after sign taken down. At $65 a piece, it easily adds up to felony theft, which requires $400 or more in damages.
“We knew we were going to lose signs, but the frequency and the vast amount has just been a huge surprise,” he said. “In my opinion, some of our signs have been systematically removed because they don’t want our message out there.”
Though Santino didn’t say it, Huber’s supporters have insinuated that Sojka’s camp is behind the thefts. Sojka, who has also had dozens of signs removed, said that is “totally out of line and unfair.”
Naturally, the question I asked when I first heard this story was were they expecting to find a Steve Sojka supporter creeping around at night stealing their signs? I may never get a straight answer to that question. I can tell you that a few evenings ago, a Huber supporter was discussing his stolen signs on Facebook and is suggesting that his opponent’s supporters are the perpetrators.
And just when you think it can’t get any uglier, the phrase “inappropriate use of resources” is heard. The Acorn article goes on to discuss the fact that an outspoken Huber for Mayor supporter volunteered to conduct the stakeout, and that his salary range and overtime pay resulted in a relatively expensive night.
Read the article at the Simi Valley Acorn by clicking here.
Was the stakeout a success? That may be a matter of perspective. The signs will likely stop disappearing now that the truth is revealed. No one pressed charges. And if you were hoping a Sojka supporter would be caught and arrested, then this was a stakeout gone awry.
As an added note, I also think City Manager Mike Sedell shows good judgment by choosing not to investigate this until after the election. While it’s easy to draw the conclusion of a conflict since the detective who chose to conduct the stakeout is a known Huber supporter, Sedell opts not to make it into an election issue. I appreciate that he can make that decision despite being a frequent target of criticism by Huber supporters.