October 19, 2012

Arrest made in theft of political signs

A Key Largo man was arrested Thursday for removing and throwing away two political signs in his neighborhood.

77 year old Herbert Hudson was charged with two counts of petit theft for removing signs  from the vicinity of Michelle Drive and U.S. One in September. The signs belonged to candidate Steve Gibbs. Detectives arrested Hudson after receiving a complaint from Gibbs about his missing signs. During the course of the investigation, Hudson admitted to throwing the signs in a dumpster near the Yellow Bait House. He said he removed them in an effort to clean up the neighborhood.

Sheriff Bob Peryam would like to reiterate the Sheriff’s Office takes this crime seriously and will arrest anyone caught removing political signs illegally. Those candidates who have had signs stolen or vandalized are encouraged to report those crimes to the Sheriff’s Office so we can investigate.

It is legal for a property owner to remove signs from his/her property without notice. Anyone placing a sign on private property should always ask permission of the owner first.

The Florida Department of Transportation would like to remind candidates and their campaign workers they cannot place signs on FDOT right of ways.  According to an email from an FDOT spokesperson:

“We make every attempt to reach out to campaign staff to give them a ‘heads up’ that their signage is in the right of way, and to give them an opportunity to relocate it.  There are some cases where immediate removal is needed, i.e. when mowing or other state right-of-way maintenance functions are in progress.  There have been hundreds of small campaign signs placed in both state and local municipal right-of-ways. 

“We realize signs are expensive and want to educate rather than confiscate signs whenever possible.  We keep a log of removals and we do not remove signs from private property.  If someone is missing a sign from the right of way, they should contact our Asset Maintenance contractor, Transfield Services here in Marathon at (305) 289-4360 to see if it’s been logged in.  They will then have an opportunity to retrieve the sign for a period of two weeks before it is then taken to the transfer station.”

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