Political signs stolen from Warren turn up one town over

Some of the missing political signs turned up on a front lawn in Barrington. The homeowner called police. Some of the missing political signs turned up on a front lawn in Barrington. The homeowner called police.

At least 16 political signs stolen from across Warren turned up in Barrington Monday morning.
Barrington resident Matt Amaral woke up to find the signs planted carefully on his front lawn. They advertise the candidacies of Brandt Heckert and Steve Thompson, Democrats who are running for Warren Town Council and will face a primary election early next month. Also stolen were more than a dozen other signs for Rhode Island gubernatorial candidates  Clay Pell and Gina Raimondo, as well as two non-political signs advertising a fund-raiser at Burrs Hill Park this past weekend.
Mr. Heckert, who filed a police report Monday after noticing the signs missing, said around 1:30 p.m. that he planned to go to Barrington that afternoon to retrieve them. He and Mr. Thompson noticed them missing Monday morning from private properties on Wheaton, Water and State streets. Others planted over the weekend at the corner of Metacom and Franklin Street were reportedly run over, Mr. Thompson said.
“We had volunteers helping, so it’s really frustrating,” he said.
Mr. Amaral said that initially he thought “bored” friends of his son were responsible. But he spoke to his son and his friends, and is satisfied that they probably weren’t involved. He filed a police report Monday afternoon.

“This is vandalism and trespassing,” he said. “And I don’t like the thought of people on our property when we’re asleep.”

Mr. Heckert and Mr. Thompson are running for Warren Town Council, and will square off against other Democrats at the primary election early next month. Other Democratic candidates for the five-seat council include Mark Aubin, John Bento, David Frerichs, Richard Silva and Catherine Tattrie.

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5 Comments

  1. John Tats said:

    I can’t believe the fact that Ted Hayes thought this was news worthy, if you think this is dirty politics welcome to Warren. you guys obviously didn’t grow up here because anyone that remembers the sixties & seventies in Warren will tell you your acting like a couple of babies. I can’t believe they wasted the police departments time w/crap like this. I think that Ted thought something like this was nothing more than an opportunity to get Brant on the front page again with nothing of substance to follow. The best thing about all this is, these two guys can’t tell if its just kids messing around or people actually hate their guts! It’s not hard to figure out, if you two have drive around Town worrying about your signs in the first place that should tell you something.

  2. Ted HayesTed Hayes said:

    John, thank you for your comments. I believe that yes, absolutely, the theft/destruction of political signs, particularly two weeks before a primary, is newsworthy, no matter whose name is on the sign.

    Potholes, here is what the state board of elections has to say about the placement of political signs. To quote from the website:
    “The Board of Elections does not regulate the placement of signange, expect within 50 feet of the entrance to the polling place building on Election Day. Some cities and towns have ordinances in place which regulate any type of signage on private property. You should contact your local Board of Canvassers for further information.”

    A call to the Board of Canvassers referred me to the town’s zoning ordinance. And while there are sign ordinances that govern the placement/size/usage of signs across town, it appears that political signs are not specifically addressed in the ordinance. Here is a link to the relevant section of town code:

    https://www.municode.com/library/ri/warren/codes/code_of_ordinances/?nodeId=THCO_CH13OFMIPR_ARTIINO_S13-17DE&searchText=signs

  3. John Tats said:

    Ted, you cannot place signs on Town or State property or Church property or Quasi Municipal Property, check with the State Election rules…..then go take a ride around Warren and tell me if you can see a problem. Two elections ago the Democratic sign was knocked down on Market St. by an unknown person. if fact it was destroyed. While there was a lot of phone calls around town that day over it, no police report, no news paper article, no nothing. In fact we just made a new one and replaced it. While I don’t condone theft, your article does them any justice, things like this have happened before to many candidates including my wife and I don’t remember you jumping up to print an article for anyone. So with that being said, I’ll make it a point to speed dial you the next time I see something awry and see if it makes the paper with as much coverage. Call D.O.T. Hq and see what they do with political signs place on State property.

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