Yard-sign thefts remain a mystery

Many Hillsboro residents woke up election morning (Aug. 3) to discover their political yard signs were gone.

Although sign theft is nothing new as election campaigns draw to a close, what makes this recent incident unusual, said Hillsboro Police Chief Dan Kinning, is that no particular candidate was singled out.

?(The offenders) stole them all,? he said.

The absence of signs was first noticed by Assistant Police Chief Jessey Hiebert around 5 a.m. Tuesday.

Kinning was hesitant to guess how many signs were taken, but with so many contested races in the primary, it was probably in the hundreds.

The city of Hillsboro wasn?t the only place signs were taken.

One couple living north of town on Kansas Highway 15 said signs were taken from their property probably the same night.

?We had five signs at the end of the driveway near the highway,? Sharon Mueller said. ?One politician?s sign was larger than the other four.?

Mueller said they had planned on putting the larger sign back in case the candidate might want to use it again.

She wasn?t sure when the signs were taken, but said they were gone when she came home Tuesday night (Aug. 3).

Across the road from their place, Mueller said, another sign was on a north-south fence, but it wasn?t taken.

?Maybe whoever took the (yard) signs didn?t see it.?

Whatever the motive was for stealing the signs, Mueller said, the incident was strange.

Kinning also said he wasn?t sure about a motive.

The most common complaints he has heard about yard signs are how much they clutter up the landscape and can be a distraction to motorists.

Kinning speculated it was more than a childish prank because the signs were taken ?rather quickly? and those involved had a plan.

?We are looking into this,? he said. ?It is theft.?

Campaign signs, according to one official, are estimated to cost around $4, but larger signs or some in frames could cost up to $10 each.

Often, political signs are removed, without notice, by maintenance crews with the Kansas Department of Trans?por?tation if they are not placed properly by law, but Kinning doesn?t believe that is what happened in Hillsboro.

If vandals are responsible for stealing signs, it?s usually during the height of the election.

?This was an odd deal,? he said.

As of press time, authorities had no suspects or new developments in the case.

Anyone who might have seen signs being removed Monday or early Tuesday morning (Aug. 2-3) is encouraged to call the Hillsboro Police Department at 620-947-3440.

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