FOX19 Investigates: Political signs being stolen and destroyed - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

FOX19 Investigates: Political signs being stolen and destroyed

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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

Several political races in Hamilton County are being plagued by campaign signs being destroyed. Many signs are on private property and some are being vandalized by people breaking into the property and stealing or damaging them.

Mike Trimpe lives on the west side of the county and went to a lot of effort to install the sign only to have someone steal it. "It's an eight foot by four foot sign and it takes a lot of work to put this up. You've got to drive the posts two feet into the ground, put all the twisties on it to connect it," he said. "One night, in the middle of the night, someone had to hop a fence. The gate was locked. It's fenced in all around. They had to hop the fence and they not only took the sign but they took the post too. So, they had to go through a lot of trouble to do that," said Trimpe.

Hamilton County Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco has had numerous signs stolen and destroyed. "I think it's a little juvenile and immature and unprofessional, you know, some of the people that live in these properties that have had signs stolen are scared about these people that have been trespassing and taking things out of their yards."

Her opponent says he's experienced similar problems, "Quite frankly, I think these are sophomoreish tactics," says Pete Kambelos. "I've had signs stolen out of my office in the front. My patients have had signs stolen. I think there are some political zealots that may be out there stealing them. I really couldn't guess but I think they're being stolen on both sides of the line."

Some say this campaign is different. "There's always a few things that go on with yard signs in every campaign, added Caleb Faux, the Executive Director of the Hamilton County Democratic Party. "But what we're seeing this year is reports of very organized thefts of yard signs with people going down a whole street and destroying signs." Political Science expert Gene Beaupre of Xavier University agrees, "I think politics in general are much more, confrontational is too strong a word, but much more aggressive."

Beaupre says signs are important for name recognition but says there's more to it. "People have to think about a campaign as a holistic thing so one sign or a bunch of signs doesn't make the campaign just like pieces of literature don't," he says. "You have to think about multiple kinds of hits on potential voters". He also says the timing is important, "You know, it's a few days before the election and people are all hyped up and everything's very close and we're in the heart of it"

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