MILTON — Town supervisor candidate Scott Ostrander is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of someone who’s been stealing campaign signs — from his opponent.
Ostrander, a retired Ballston Spa police officer endorsed by Republicans, called a news conference Wednesday in response to Barbara Kerr's signs going missing.
Ostrander is being challenged by Kerr, a Republican Town Board member, in the Sept. 12 primary.
“Being in law enforcement over the past 29 years, this kind of activity is unacceptable and bad behavior, and it makes all of the candidates that are running for this office look bad,” Ostrander told reporters during a news conference in the parking lot of Town Hall.
Kerr was not at the news conference. Ostrander said he did not invite her because he was responding to a Monday story on News 10 about Kerr’s signs being stolen. He said he was out of town over the weekend and returned to find 10 of his campaign signs missing as well.
“They contacted me by phone wanting a comment, and this is my comment,” he said.
Ostrander argued that the lead-in to the News 10 story: “Things are getting heated in a local primary election as campaign signs are disappearing in the town of Milton” — suggested he was to blame.
“That’s why I’m putting up the money,” he said.
Scott Ostrander, a Republican candidate for Milton town supervisor, offers a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of anyone stealing campaign signs from his Republican opponent, Barbara Kerr, or himself. He is flanked by Republican Town Board member Frank Blaisdell (right) and Republican candidate John Frolish. (Ned Campbell)
He said he hoped the reward would entice someone with knowledge of what happened to speak out. He urged anyone with information to call him at 518-470-0484, or contact the Saratoga County Sheriff's Office at 518-885-6761.
“Maybe there’s video, if someone wants to come forth,” he said.
Reached by phone Wednesday, Kerr said: “Well, isn’t that nice of him?”
She said she never accused her opponent of stealing the signs and did not think the News 10 story suggested his campaign was to blame.
“It sounds like we’re taking the blame off of him or anyone else, when I never accused him or anyone in his campaign of doing it,” she said.
She questioned Ostrander’s motives, calling the announcement political grandstanding.
“What aggravates me is he did a press conference on my behalf and didn’t tell me about it,” she said. “I don’t particularly want anyone speaking on my behalf.”
Asked if she would match the $500 offered by Ostrander, she said: “Why not? Certainly.” But she suggested that the reward was excessive.
“To me that’s getting kind of silly,” she said. “The signs were worth about $200.”
Kerr said one of her large, wooden-framed signs was taken from Geyser Road last week, and between 20 and 30 small signs were stolen from Rock City Road. Only the signs that were placed on private property were left, she said.
She filed reports with the sheriff’s office, she said.
And while Ostrander was willing to pay $500 to aid in the prosecution of the sign stealer, he said he did not plan to file police reports for the signs taken from him because “the cops have better things to do.”
“You’re putting out 100 to 300 signs — some of them are bound to come up missing at some point,” he said.
The theft of campaign signs amounts to petty larceny, which carries a potential sentence of up to $1,000 or a year in jail, Ostrander said.
The town supervisor role is being vacated by Republican Dan Lewza, who announced in April he would not seek re-election. The town Democratic committee has not endorsed anyone to run for the position.