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Several campaign signs for local candidates sit in a snow bank at the intersection of Main Street and Route 125 in Epping. (JASON SCHREIBER PHOTO)

Epping candidates make plea for signs to stay put

EPPING - With local elections less than a week away, selectmen Monday night warned crooks to leave campaign signs alone.

Selectman Karen Falcone, board chairman, said candidates have complained about their signs disappearing and being tossed into the woods.

"Signs cost a lot of money. This is not a light expense to any of us that are running for any office," she said at a meeting Monday.

Calling the sign thefts "childish and ridiculous," Falcone cited state law which makes campaign sign removal illegal.

The state law reads, in part: "No person shall remove, deface, or knowingly destroy any political advertising which is placed on or affixed to public property or any private property except the owner of the property, persons authorized by the owner of the property, or a law enforcement officer removing improper advertising."

"It needs to stop. It's illegal. It's immoral. It's unethical. And it's degrading to the person or persons who are doing it," said Falcone, who's running for a seat on the school board.

Selectman Robert Jordan, who is running for reelection, said his signs "weren't cheap to make" and he's missing nearly 20.

Signs have also disappeared for Selectman Dianne Gilbert, who's seeking reelection and running for school board.

Her husband, Paul Spidle, said he manages the signs for his wife and Falcone and found the six he placed at the town dump missing within a matter of a few days.

Spidle asked that the thief return the signs, even if it means dropping them off on the front steps of the town hall late at night.

"We'll pick them up," he said.

Campaign signs vanish in every election in almost every town, and this year is no exception.

Last weekend, Robert Donovan Jr. of Newton, a candidate running for selectman in his town, found 80 of his signs missing. They were corrugated plastic signs that cost him nearly $1,400.

"Leave them alone," Gilbert said, adding that "Chicago politics" should stay in Chicago.

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