Candidates request people stop stealing their campaign signs

The political signs in front of the Mountain Brew Coffee Eats and Treats lets everyone know that it's election season. Some political signs have been the target of theft in the Steamboat Springs area.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

It’s that time of the election cycle when campaign ads can be seen posted in people’s lawns, at intersections and along busy thoroughfares. Apparently, it’s also time for political candidates to ask the public to stop stealing their signs.

“It’s theft,” said Sonja Macys, a candidate for Routt County Commissioner. “It’s frustrating because truly elections should be positive and issue oriented.”

Macy’s opponent, Kathi Meyer, said she’s seen less theft of signs this year compared to her previous campaigns.

“Sometimes signs get taken down because landscapers or people are mowing the grass and they don’t get put back up,” Meyer said. “And sometimes people are taking signs down because they don’t want to see the opposition.”

Steamboat Police Chief Sherry Burlingame said her department hasn’t had any calls for service for stolen campaign signs, but did say the community has reached out to say it is happening.   

“People support different candidates for different reasons and whatnot,” Burlingame said. “We all got to respect them and their views and let them have their signs.”

On Oct. 13, between the hours of 8:30 and 10 a.m., Bethany Karulak-Baker had six signs stolen from her home. Karulak-Baker said she had signs for candidates from both Republican and Democrat parties.

“It’s just a waste,” Karulak-Baker said. “It’s a waste of materials and it’s time consuming to get them replaced.”

Karulak-Baker said she filed a report with the Routt County Sheriff’s Office.

“The signs cost money,” Meyer said. She explained that campaigns are funded through public donations, and stealing signs takes money away from the friends and family of the candidates.

“You’re not just disrespecting the candidate,” Meyer said. “You’re disrespecting your fellow citizens.” 

Though Meyer said she’s replaced some stolen signs during this election cycle, she said it hasn’t been as bad as when she ran for City Council years ago.

“I had an opponent who actually paid teenagers to take down my signs,” Meyer said. “The teenagers bragged about it to some friends who called me, and we actually found the signs. They had put them in a dumpster.”

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Meyer said the police asked her if she wanted to file a complaint, but she declined. She said she can’t remember the name of the man who paid those teenagers. 

“I don’t even think he lives in town anymore, but it actually happened,” Meyer said. 

Macys said she’s had at least 10 signs stolen this election. 

“It’s been going on since I got the signs,” Macys said. “The first sign delivery I made, my sign was gone within a day,” Macys said. 

She also recalls a strange occurrence that happened about a week ago. 

“One night, a whole bunch of signs went up in vacant lots and easements, rights of way, and that happened to be the same night that a number of my signs went missing,” Macys said. “I’ll just say that the signs that went up in the easements and the vacant lots were not my signs.”

Macys said she’s talked with neighbors who were also curious about where the signs came from, as they seemingly appeared overnight. 

Macys later added that the cost of the signs aren’t a priority of hers, but laments the environmental waste of throwing stolen signs in the trash.  

“Signs are terrible anyway,” Macys said. “I mean they’re not environmentally friendly.” 

Macys said she hopes the thieves would at least recycle the metal wicket parts of her signs but said they’re probably not. 

“It’s just creating unnecessary waste while also committing a crime,” Macys said. 

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