School board candidates use cameras to catch campaign sign thief
CLAY COUNTY, Florida. – A few school board candidates are fighting back after a series of campaign signs are stolen. It takes place in Clay County where the two council members Janice Kerekes and Tina Bullock – who are political allies – have had several campaign signs stolen from them.
So the Kerekes campaign installed cameras and trackers on the signs and this led to a police investigation.
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The incident that caught the attention of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office happened Saturday when a sign was stolen in the Keystone Heights area around County Road 315C and Long Pond Drive. The investigation report indicates that the campaigns had permission from the owner to place the signs there. And a man in a truck was recorded on the hidden campaign camera stealing them. “Just know that if you’re looking to take our signs…smile because you’ll be caught on camera,” said District 1 school board member awaiting reelection Janice Kerekes.
In addition to a hidden camera, the campaign attached Apple Air-Tags to signs they knew could be stolen and they received an alert on their phone that one of the signs was moving. “We had one on Saturday that we literally saw in motion. Could see where it was going and thanks to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office for a very quick response. They went to that person’s residence and they issued a warrant, it’s an active investigation,” Kerekes said.
Bullock and Kerekes said they each flew more than a dozen signs during this campaign.
“It’s sad, it’s very discouraging. I guess people don’t realize that’s stealing,” said Bullock, who is also up for re-election.
Deputies followed the man to a nearby property and confronted him where they found the missing signs. When confronted, the report says he “repeatedly said the signs were garbage and he did not commit a crime.” He goes on to say that he “was furious during the whole interaction and said I should find thieves and murderers instead of dealing with him picking up trash”.
There is an active mandate in the process in this case. As of this writing, the man has not been charged.
News4JAX has contacted several other campaigns in the race all of which say they do not support sign theft. The man under investigation has not indicated any political motivation to investigators.
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