Vandals Strike Campaign Signs

March 24, 2004 -- Posted at 5:25 p.m. CST

JONESBORO -- It's an election year, and that means politicians are busy campaigning and working for your vote. But in Craighead County, one man running for sheriff is having a hard time keeping his name and his signs out where voters can see them.

No one said the campaign trail was easy, but for Bobby Johnson, candidate for Craighead County Sheriff, it seems to be up hill all the way.

"It's just frustrating because you get out and people give you money and you take some of your own money, you go out to advertise running for an office and people just don't have respect, and they are just coming and tearing them all up," said Johnson.

Johnson has had nearly a third of all of his election signs destroyed or stolen, and with each sign between $12 and $15 dollars, he says it's starting to add up.

Vandals have burn signs, shredded them with box cutters and have even stolen the signs and the metal posts anchoring them down.

"It's vandalism if you've got a sign on private property, you can get them for trespassing and also there are signs that belong to other candidates too and it's theft of property," said Johnson, as he replaced one of his signs.

Volunteers for Johnson's campaign say it's frustrating to replace the signs everyday.

"I enjoy putting them up, you know, but I don't enjoy have to come back and replace them every day you know. It's the same sign being torn down every night by somebody, I don't know who," said Bob Douglas, a volunteer for Johnson's campaign.

And although Johnson doesn't know who is destroying his signs, he thinks it maybe someone from his past....

"I used to be a deputy sheriff here in this county and I've made a lot of people mad in the several years, especially the drug people and the drug users and the drug dealers and I think that might be a way they are trying to get back at me," said Johnson.

But he says it won't deter him from his campaign.

"That just drives me more to go out and beat on every door that I can to get their vote to be elected sheriff," laughed Johnson.

The Johnson campaign is offering a reward for any information. If you know anything about the vandalism, please call the Craighead County Sheriff's office at 933-4551.