VIDEO: Maui sign snatcher caught on surveillance
By Wendy Osher
A Maui surveillance video that captures a sign snatcher in action is going viral as the campaign season on the Valley Isle heats up. The incident occurred at 6:39 a.m. Sunday at a business in Wailuku town. Keith Regan, the campaign manager for former mayor Alan Arakawa said more than 50 large signs from the campaign have been either stolen or vandalized over the past few weeks. According to Regan, each cardboard sign costs approximately $10, and the wood backing, not including the wooden stakes, costs nearly $11.
Other candidates have also reported sign thefts this season. Don Couch, a candidate for the South Maui Council seat said he had about 10 signs stolen. His campaign spent about $8 per sign and $2.50 for stakes. Couch said he would not speculate on who took his signs, but said such action against any candidate is in poor taste. He said that while some people support signs as advertisement, others have expressed discontent at the visual impact.
A single sign theft would be considered a petty misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a $100 fine if convicted. Such cases are usually handled in district court and go directly to the prosecuting attorney’s office. Lt. Timothy Gapero with the Maui Police Department’s Property Crimes Division said the offense would be considered a felony if damages exceed $301. A class C felony is punishable by up to 5 years in jail upon conviction and/or a $1000 fine.
“It is one thing to ardently support a candidate, but to engage in criminal acts is totally unacceptable and should never be condoned. Trespassing, theft, and vandalism are crimes and should be treated as crimes,” Regan said.