As the 2018 election approaches, mayoral and city council can­di­dates have reported local election signs dis­ap­pearing across Hillsdale County.

Coun­cilman Adam Stock­yard’s election signs are among those stolen.
(Photo: Hillsdale City Council)

Mayoral can­didate Adam Stockford has lost 20 signs. Addi­tionally, mayoral can­didate Scott Ses­sions has lost four signs.

Stolen signs is a regular occur­rence during elec­tions, and the police don’t actively pursue cases unless the home­owner catches the thief, Hillsdale Police Chief Scott Hephner said.

“Almost every election when can­di­dates put signs out in the yard, signs go missing,” Hephner said. “Some of it is just theft; some people might have repur­posed the signs. It’s not usually a huge deal. If we come across someone with a sign, we usually just make sure we make them put it back.”

Some­times home­owners move signs too close to the curb when mowing their lawns, but the city usually calls to warn the can­didate before moving the signs. The mayoral can­di­dates and the police are unable to verify who is taking the signs, but they said they suspect it could be pranks by local stu­dents.

“So far, every election I’ve been in signs go missing,” Ses­sions said. “Some­times kids take them. I don’t know who else would take them. If they are kids, I think they would be doing it for a prank. I can’t think of any other reason, and I know some­times they take street signs.”

Ses­sions put out 60 signs for the race, each of which cost $6. Only four went missing, and Ses­sions said he was not con­cerned that the missing signs would impact the race.

Stockford cam­paigned with 120 signs, but he lost far more to the thefts, which cost him almost $200 worth in stolen signs.

“The frus­trating part is having to replace them. And the signs aren’t cheap,” Stockford said. “The thing to remember if you decide you want to steal signs is that if you are doing it to harm the can­didate, most of the time the signs come from dona­tions of people right here in the com­munity of Hillsdale — teachers and fire­fighters, house­wives, engi­neers, janitors.They are people trying to par­tic­ipate in the political process in some way through small con­tri­bu­tions, and that’s what is used to make the pur­chases. I guess it is coun­ter­pro­ductive.”