Campaign Signs Stolen and Vandalized - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Campaign Signs Stolen and Vandalized


Waterloo (KWWL) -- As the election gets closer, the crime of stealing and vandalizing yard signs is on the rise.  It's not just happening in some front yards.  Recently, thieves have been seen stealing campaign signs around the country and vandals have been seen damaging or spray-painting signs.  Now, it's hit at least one local party headquarters.

Right now, you can tell where the Black Hawk County Republican Party Headquarters are inside one Waterloo building.  Campaign signs from national and local candidates decorate the front window.  But if those signs weren't there, you wouldn't know it because its normal, year-round office sign is gone.  It's the latest vandalism this campaign season.

"We've replaced a lot of signs. In fact, we've gone through so many signs - McCain-Palin signs alone we've probably distributed close to 2000 in Black Hawk County - when people come in and want a replacement, we're out of signs," says Black Hawk County Republican Party Chair Don Wood.

But it's not just Republican signs missing or damaged.  Security footage shows someone spray-painting an Obama-Biden sign in Cedar Falls Friday night.  The homeowners put up a security camera after having several signs stolen or vandalized.  Cedar Falls Police say they've been unusually busy with sign crime.  They say this year is worse than previous years because it usually goes unreported.

"What we've done is require that all patrol officers in those areas keep an extra watch for any suspicious act and hopefully we'll catch the people who do this," says Cedar Falls Police Capt. Mike Hayes.

So what's the punishment for offenders?  Police say it would probably be a simple misdemeanor.  If a person is caught in the act, they'd be booked and released.   They'd face up to $100 in fines and/or up to 30 days in jail.  Those campaign signs are free to anyone who wants them.  But it costs campaigns money to print and make them -- some cost more than $100 each.

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