Are Missing Campaign Signs a Problem in Minnetonka?

It happens every election season, but some Minnetonka residents say that doesn't make it okay.

It happens every election season, and this one is no exception.

However bothersome it might be, election signs being stolen from yards is nothing out of the ordinary, according to Minnetonka Police Captain Scott Boerboom.

While residents can file complaints with the Minnetonka Police Department about missing or damaged campaign signs, there is generally nothing that can be done.

“The signs are typically purchased by the candidate,” Boerboom said. “So we can take an informational report, but technically it’s not a theft because the person who owns the house isn’t out any money.”

If a candidate reports stolen signs, then the department can take a theft report.

However, Boerboom does suggest homeowners contact the Police Department anyway. “If you would like to report it, you can certainly call, and we’ll take the report,” he said.

Minnetonka resident Amber Faith Bullington wishes more could be done.

“From what we've seen, a large number of signs are being stolen– those signs have to be somewhere,” Bullington said. “Plus, the people who stole our sign had to walk into our yard to remove it, and that's kind of scary.”

One night, all but one of the "Vote No on the Marriage Amendment" signs in her neighborhood were taken.

The month before that, a friend of hers in another area of town woke up to a damaged “Vote No” sign.

Bullington reported the missing signs to the Police Department but said she was told they couldn't file a formal complaint about the theft.

“They said something about how the signs don't have serial numbers on them, so there is no way they could prove that a sign was ours even if they found it,” said Bullington. “They did make a note of our complaint, though, and said they'd beef up patrol of our neighborhood.”

Boerboom said because the department doesn’t track the type of signs that are missing, they don’t know what is the most commonly taken or damaged sign.

Bullington said she handled the situation by donating more money to the “Vote No” cause and getting another sign.

She said her friend “repaired her vandalized sign, bought a new one and also made her own sign telling those who vandalized her sign that the only thing they are accomplishing by stealing and damaging signs is that more money is being funneled into the ‘Vote No’ cause.”

Have you had issues with missing or damaged campaign signs? Tell us in the comments.

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Meeche Miller October 16, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Your article only mentions the Vote NO signs being stolen - what about all the Vote Yes signs being stolen? Shows the bias in your reporting - My Vote Yes signs and my neighbors have all been stolen but this is never covered on TV or news articles such as yours.
Chuck Heubach October 16, 2012 at 03:28 PM
While it is unacceptable to see any personal property destroyed, there is little reason to ask the municipalities to police the problem, which is temporary at best. Although I would never enter a persons property to remove or damage a legally posted sign, I find all signs other than those necessary for directional or the public safety to be obtrusive to our beautiful cities...at the most beautiful time of the year. I guess I just don't care what your political agenda is!
ghoweey October 16, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Becky, I also think at Meeche does that your articles shows the bias in your reporting--always always favoring the liberals progressives
ghoweey October 16, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Becky, one more thing--Bullington's friend who told her, she had to 'purchase' another sign, is not telling the truth. All vote No & Vote Yes signs are FREE. My story is that --one Friday afternoon last month, a friend & I put up 2 hugh 4 x 8 signs [Vote Yes on both Marriage & Photo ID] along hiway 7 in Deephaven. I chose that spot thinking that the accessability to vandals would be difficult since is was surrounded by swamp on 3 sides. The 4th side was along highway 7, however, there was no shoulder for a car to stop and destroy them. Also, there was a guard railing 3 ' high that a criminal wouild have to climb over. We placed the signs up at 2PM. By dawnthe next morning, they were down and broken. These signs cost $70 a piece, x2= $140. The rebar [which were bent] costs $7 a piece x 6 += $42. That is a total of almost $200 for our efforts, We now have these tiny camera's installed at various locations AND we did record a person on a bicyle in a red/black/blue outfit doing damage to one of our signs. We did not get a facial recognition but now know how many people of Bullington's ideals operate. I strongly urge people to VOTE YES VOTE YES on both of these amendments. Let freedom ring
Chuck Heubach October 16, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Then ghowee... you should know that, unless you own the property or have permission from the property owner, your sign posting was probably in violation of Deephaven Ordinance, Section 115.06 Prohibited Signs. Prohibited signs include "(j) Signs within the public right of way, public property or public easement." Source: http://www.cityofdeephaven.org/Ordinances/2012%20B/5-21-12%20Chapter%2011.pdf I live on a busy corner, and I am always tearing down signs in the public right of way. I ask this question: Would you mind if I placed a sign in your front yard without asking?
Becky Glander (Editor) October 16, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Thanks, Meeche. I agree. It wasn't meant to be biased, I just couldn't find anyone immediately with missing "Vote No" signs.
Becky Glander (Editor) October 16, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Thanks ghoweey, I don't find that to be the case about bias in my articles. The source in my article was just willing to share her experience, and I was trying to broaden the idea to ALL political signs.
Chuck Heubach October 16, 2012 at 06:15 PM
I would also like to add my opinion that the sign pictured nailed to the utility pole is also an illegal sign in most municipalities. The public should understand that there is no protection for their litter when posted illegally, and there is no protection for speech when you post it on your neighbors or public property. Indeed, let freedom ring and let the rule of law protect our freedom to be free of litter and street spam.
Political Mama October 22, 2012 at 12:12 PM
Conservative bias? On the Patch? Now that's funny. Call the Minnetonka police. I can assure you the majority of missing signs and vandalism is against the conservative movement.
Political Mama October 22, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Check- The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that no municipality, homeowners association, or city may override OUR RIGHT to put a political sign on our property/yard. There is no limit on the size or the amount of signs that may be placed in ones yard. The only contingency is that signs may not appear before 46 days from an election, and must be removed within 10 days.
ghoweey November 02, 2012 at 12:34 AM
My Friend owns the property. According to Buck Craig of Mn Dot permits, this sign location was legal
Chuck Heubach November 06, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Political Mama: The key word in your response, (Which is otherwise correct) is "our", meaning that you own the property, or have permission from the property owner. If you post your litter on my property I will destroy it...you have no right to do so.


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