Westport campaign signs reported stolen
WESTPORT — When election season comes around, a bevy of campaign signs are usually seen around town — and often stolen.
At least that’s what Westport Information Officer Anthony Prezioso has seen throughout his career.
“I can’t remember an election season we weren’t getting these complaints,” Prezioso said, “and I’ve been here for 14 years.”
On Oct. 9 around noon, Westport police were contacted by Jack Klinge, a candidate for the Representative Town Meeting.
Prezioso said it was reported around 25 of Klinge’s political campaign signs were taken from the areas of Long Lots Road, Turkey Hill Road, Bulkley Avenue, and High Point Road. They were last seen around Oct. 8 at 4 p.m.
“Sometimes it’s pretty obvious if there is one candidate whose signs seems to go missing from all areas of town,” Prezioso said, adding in this case Klinge noted competitors’ signs were missing as well.
“It’s probably not somebody targeting either political party,” Prezioso noted.
With many campaign signs being taken indiscriminately, he said it appeared more likely someone took all of the posted signs in an area.
“All of the signs had been on town property, so the investigating officer followed up with town hall to be sure town hall employees had not removed them,” Prezioso said. “This was found not to be the case.”
Four days later on the morning of Oct. 13, Westport police were contacted again about campaign signs missing. This time, RTM candidate Sal Liccione reported various signs including his own being stolen at Grace K. Salmon Park.
Liccione has noticed signs missing in past years, but noted this year has been very trying. According to Liccione, he has seen Democratic Board of Education and Board of Finance campaign signs stolen, as well as various RTM members.
“It’s just very rude, whether we’re Democrat or Republican,” he said. “Personally I think it’s a criminal matter.”
He added the police have a done a great job of mitigating the situation, but the theft of signs was a huge disservice to the town.
“I just want to say to the public please don’t steal our signs, anybody’s signs whether Democrat, Republican, or RTM,” Liccione said. “We want to inform the public we’re running.”
Though this year is only a municipal election that doesn’t include a selectman race, Prezioso said he has seen this type of theft occurring despite the size of elections. Typically a week or two out from the election, it can get even more contentious.
“I guess people get invested in their politics,” Prezioso said. “We see it with every election.”