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Stealing election signs can have serious consequences

Jodie Jenkins is proud to be running for MP of Quinte West on Oct, 9. [1]

Signs for Conservative candidate Jodie Jenkins have been stolen in Belleville. Photo by Mallory Day

By Mallory Day [2]

BELLEVILLE – Have you ever wanted to run away with a campaign sign?

Apparently somebody in the Bay of Quinte riding did: a large number of election signs in the east end of Belleville were reported vandalized or stolen in late August. Conservative candidate Jodie Jenkins [3] contacted the police about the stolen signs the afternoon of Aug 22. Jenkins represented the east end when he was elected to Belleville city council in 2010.

“About 60 to 100 signs were stolen from Jenkins,” Inspector Chris Barry of the Belleville Police told QNet News Wednesday.

Jenkins isn’t the only one missing signs. Liberal candidate Neil Ellis [4] told the Belleville Intelligencer that a handful of his signs have been stolen as well. NDP candidate Terry Cassidy [5] told the Intelligencer he hopes no one will vandalize his signs.

There were also incidents of sign theft during the municipal election last year.

Police are reminding the public that it’s against the law to mess with election signs in any way.

Const. Michael Lockwood of the Belleville Police service told QNet News recently that vandalism is a mischief charge, while stealing signs brings a charge of theft under $5,000.

“It’s an automatic charge to go to court,” Lockwood said. “Could be anywhere from 30 days of jail to community-service hours” if you are convicted. And those are the penalties for a first-time offender; it may get worse if you’ve done it before.

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