Political signs are going missing, so many that one candidate has filed a police report and offered a reward if someone provides information that helps police find the culprit.
Republican Niskayuna town supervisor candidate Hamayun “Joey” Faizy’s campaign filed a police complaint Tuesday for stolen and damaged political signs. The signs have disappeared from Hillside Avenue, Providence Avenue, Balltown Road, Lexington Road and the traffic circles along Aqueduct and River roads, according to a press release from the Faizy campaign.
Faizy said Thursday that around 25 signs from both public and private property were taken. The missing signs are raising concerns about election integrity, according to Faizy’s release.
“Destroying and stealing political signs undermines our election process. This is not a Republican or Democrat issue but rather a voter issuer,” Faizy said. “In the spirit of ensuring election participation, all political signs, regardless of the political candidate and political party, should be preserved and respected.”
Faizy said he’s disappointed in the occurrences and also finds it to be disheartening. Faizy has offered a $500 reward for any information that leads to the arrest or conviction of those taking the signs. People are encouraged to call the town police department with any information.
Police Chief Jordan Kochan said he’s made patrol officers aware of what’s happening and told them to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity regarding political signs. However, as of Thursday, there was not much evidence to go on for an investigation, he said.
Faizy isn’t the only one dealing with sign issues. It’s become a problem for Faizy’s political opponents as well and an issue for Brendan Savage, who is running for a seat to represent the city of Schenectady on the Schenectady County Legislature.
“Our campaign has been contacted by many residents throughout town asking for new signs because theirs have been stolen,” said Nick Buonanno, communications director for the Niskayuna Democrats. “We have also seen and heard of a lot of social media chatter about signs for our Democratic slate being stolen as well. Signs on Dean Street, Windsor Drive, off Pearse Road, Rosendale Road, and throughout the Woodcrest area have gone missing. Our campaign was also notified that four stolen and damaged signs were then dumped in a yard in Woodcrest.”
Savage said he first saw the issue arise during the primaries.
“During the primary season, I had to file a report with the Schenectady Police Department after about 11 signs got stolen from one person’s private property in the Stockade over the course of 15 days,” he said. “I have no clue who stole all the signs, but I’m guessing it was a supporter of my opponent who happens to live in the same neighborhood.”
Omar Sterling McGill, who is running against Savage, said no one with his campaign has taken any of Savage’s signs.
“In the primary, I definitely had signs taken down,” McGill said.
He hasn’t seen many taken as of late, but that’s because he said he’s gotten new signs and hasn’t put all of them out yet.
Savage said his campaign did not file a report on some of the signs that were stolen from both the public right of way and private homes. Nonetheless, the matter is upsetting, he said.
Most candidates expect some signs to come down, he said, but not as many as he’s been seeing.
“Where it becomes concerning is when it seems like a concerted, repeated effort on behalf of a group of individuals who are dedicated to stealing your campaign’s property,” Savage said. “This not only burdens a campaign’s financial resources, but during small local races the candidates themselves often have to devote time to replacing signs that could be spent reaching out to more voters.”
He estimated that around 25 of his signs were taken during the primary season, but recently, the number of stolen signs is reaching the double digits.
It’s a tradition in the city for political signs to have a phone number of the campaign so people can call and return signs, he said. He’s not heard about any of the missing signs.