File this under "I need you to read my blog": The conservative website Pundit House takes issue with a decision by Charlotte City Councilman Pat Cannon and one of his supporters to call the police after campaign signs were stolen from her yard.
Wait, aren't conservatives supposed to be tough on crime?
Here's what Pundit House reported:
Now here’s a fine use of political capital and taxpayer resources, all in one swoop: having the CMPD round up campaign sign thieves at the behest of Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Cannon, a Democrat councilmember running for at-large reelection.
Justine Tobin a local activist and ‘Occupy Charlotte’ protester who has hosted at least one fund raiser at her home for Patrick Cannon, had seen a number of ‘Re-Elect Cannon’ signs disappear from her yard as well as the yards of other Cannon supporting neighbors. The thief struck 3 times over a number of days last month,” reports investigative blogger and professional agitator Cedar Posts.
Tobin made numerous calls to 911 to report the thefts but still the signs kept vanishing, so she contacted Patrick Cannon to see if something could be done.
Enraged apparently Cannon called CMPD Chief Monroe and gave the Chief a little arm twisting.
The story further informs that CMPD’s Vice and Narcotics Tactical Surveillance Unit set up a three-night sting operation in east Charlotte’s Foxcroft neighborhood, using unmarked police cars and wireless cameras, to nab the sign-stealing lawbreakers.
Which all sounds wildly outrageous, until you come across police incident reports listing Justine Tobin, resident of Beresford Road in Foxcroft, as the reporting victim of — wait for it — campaign sign theft.
According to CMPD five teenagers had been stealing the signs as an ongoing prank. All where issued civil summons rather than being arrested … Tobin tells Cedar Posts that CMPD Officers were successful in recovering at least 20 campaign signs belonging to Patrick Cannon and others. The signs are valued at nearly $500.00.
The cost of the surveillance operation, nearly $15,000.00 according to one CMPD officer.
Here are some facts that are missing:
1) It is a crime in North Carolina to steal a political sign.
2) You can't even move a sign — unless it is blocking the right of way.
3) This isn't just a Democratic problem. WBTV reported last month that two people running for the school board (a non-partisan race) had some signs stolen as well.
Candidates Mary McCray and Darrin Rankin claim the thefts happened to them. Rankin says the location of the crime was in Huntersville.
"It's irritating," Rankin said, "Because we're all campaigning. Signs cost money. I don't disturb anybody else's signs and I expect the same respect from other candidates."
McCray claims someone is knocking down and stealing her signs.
"At first I thought I had violated a code," McCray said. "But found out, I had not violated any codes."
The candidate says she paid $1,300 for 200 signs. Now several are missing. What bothers her is her son, who is serving in Afghanistan, paid for the signs. She says she told him her signs were missing. McCray says her son didn't get upset, she said her son told her to view this crime in a different way.
"Maybe somebody sees you as the front runner." McCray said.
Rankin and McCray say there is really nothing they can do. They won't file a police report. They claim this experience has taught them what the campaign trail can sometimes involve.
Cannon and Tobin had every right to call the police. A crime was committed and reported. This shouldn't be politicized at all.