Mayoral candidate reports at least 160 campaign signs have been stolen

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IDAHO FALLS — An Idaho Falls mayoral candidate says an “inordinate amount” of her campaign signs have been stolen this election season.

Councilwoman Barbara Ehardt told EastIdahoNews.com at least 150 yard signs and 10 large signs have been stolen during the 2017 mayoral and runoff elections.

“What’s been disconcerting is when, and this has happened, whole neighborhood’s signs end up missing,” Ehardt said. “On three separate occasions, I’ve had to replace the signs because they had been stolen and the owners had called me. It’s those kinds of things that have happened at such a high rate that I tend to think there’s a group of people that just do not want me or my message to be successful.”

Idaho Falls Mayoral Candidate Barbara Ehardt. | EastIdahoNews.com file photo

Andrea Todd, a spokeswoman for incumbent mayor Rebecca Casper’s campaign, said nobody has reported their signs being stolen but some signs have disappeared.

“Driving through town this last weekend, there are a lot of Casper signs missing but they aren’t on private property,” Todd told EastIdahoNews.com. “We take our chances when we put them on canal banks and public property because when the city comes by or the county comes by to mow, they have a responsibility to pull up any signs because it’s on public property.”

When campaign signs are removed by city or county employees, they are taken to the landfill where they can be recovered by the candidates.

“When we say missing or gone, it’s because they’ve probably been picked up by the city because technically they’re not supposed to be there,” Todd said.

Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper. | EastIdahoNews.com file photo

Todd said Casper supporters and volunteers have not been given any direction where signs should be placed except that permission must be obtained from landowners before placing them on private property.

Ehardt said the majority of campaign signs reported missing were on private property and she has only retrieved four signs from the landfill that were placed on public property by her supporters.

“We’ve done a very good job of basically not placing signs on city property,” Ehardt said. “If you go down there (to the dump) right now, you can see a ton of the mayor’s signs that her supporters have placed on city property.”

Ehardt said she has not filed a police report regarding the missing signs because, when she first ran for office in 2009, she said she was told it would be difficult to investigate.

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