Dozens of political signs damaged

Baltimore County police investigating

September 06, 2010|By Peter Hermann, The Baltimore Sun

Dozens of political campaign signs were ruined early Monday in Pikesville and Owings Mills, angering candidates and sending Baltimore County police scrambling to find the culprits a week before the primary election.

Complaints of damaged political signs, which proliferate on area roadways, are common. In many cases, the signs are knocked down or defaced, and most often suspects are never identified.

In Monday's incidents, signs for candidates in several Baltimore County races were damaged, many by having the middle portions cut out by someone using a knife or a box-cutter. Most of the vandalism was along Reisterstown Road in Pikesville and Garrison Forest Road in Owings Mills.

Baltimore County police Lt. Robert McCullough, a department spokesman, said vandalism was reported the Pikesville and Franklin precincts. He said county police are investigating.

In Pikesville, Sherrie Becker, who is one of six candidates running for an open seat in Council District 2, said her signs had been placed on Reisterstown Road between Old Court and Sudbrook roads. She said the damage occurred Monday between 3 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Becker, the executive director of the Pikesville Chamber of Commerce, said each of her signs cost about $150. She said some signs belonging to one of her opponents, former state Senate staffer Vicki Almond, and signs for unopposed state Senate candidate and incumbent Bobby Zirkin also were damaged.

Becker said each sign measured 4 feet by 10 feet. "It's a lot of money," said Becker, who said she had no idea who might be responsible. "This late in the campaign, the money could be devoted to other things. I've had signs knocked down, but nothing to this level. This is very calculated."

Zirkin said that his campaign signs had been defaced and knocked down "all summer long," and he vowed that "the police will investigate this until it is done. Even when the election is over, police aren't going to give up until the perpetrators are found."

Almond said she tried to deal with anger by going door to door to greet potential voters on Monday. "I think it was a nasty thing to do," she said. "The signs, though irritating for some, are part of the process. I don't know who would be cruel enough to do it. I find it really disappointing and a slap to the political process."

Democratic state Del. Dan K. Morhaim said that 10 signs in front of his house on Garrison Forest Road and on a neighbor's property in Owings Mills were damaged — some slashed and others vandalized in a similar manner to the ones in Pikesville. He said other signs, for judges running for election, were damaged in the area.

Police urged anyone with information to call 410-307-2020.

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