Campaign signs stolen, election heats up

GLADEWATER, TX (KLTV) - By Sara Story - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

GLADEWATER, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas election gets heated as campaign signs disappear.

A candidate running for Gladewater City Council claims his signs have been stolen multiple times. The act has been caught on tape. The candidate took matters into his own hands by installing surveillance cameras.

"I ought to be getting lots of practice at this," said Mark Carpenter, a candidate for City Council. "This is the 5th time this sign has been stolen, removed or vandalized."

Carpenter says surveillance cameras finally captured the people responsible for stealing his campaign signs. The footage shows what appears to be an SUV drive up to a group of signs. Someone gets out of the vehicle, takes Carpenter's sign out of the ground, loads it up and drives away.

"I don't necessarily think it's one of my opponents," said Carpenter. "It could be a supporter of one of my opponents. I'm not about to charge him with doing this. It could be someone wanting to see him win and me lose."

In fact, the footage shows the same SUV pull up and take the other candidate's signs that same night. Carpenter says the suspects are sending out a message.

He has run for city office five times unsuccessfully and blames it on his campaign for change.

"I think it's difficult to bring change to a town," said Carpenter. "I think status quo likes being status quo."

"Well, I heard the word 'change' in 2008 and I'm seeing it in Washington, and it disgusts 3/4ths of the people in America," said Jimmy Williams, Carpenter's opponent and the incumbent councilman.

Williams has been on the city council for 10 years.

"We've got people having things stolen everyday that are a lot more valuable than those signs," said Williams.

When it comes to his signs, he says he is generous.

"If somebody steals on of my signs, if they need another one to remember me by, I've got some more," he laughed.

Both candidates sticking up for their names.

The Gladewater Police Department is investigating the incident.

The people responsible for stealing the signs could face theft or criminal mischief charges.

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