Tallahassee, Fl-October 31, 2012
The election is less than a week away, and it's hard to miss the political signs plastered all over town. But if you're one of those people making these signs disappear, you may be hit with a hefty fine or even some jail time.
"The reality is, taking anything off of someone else's property that does not belong to you is a theft," says Officer David Northway, spokesman for the Tallahassee Police Department.
In Florida, stealing a political sign is considered petty theft, a misdemeanor. It can land you up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. But if the sign is worth more than $300, that misdemeanor becomes a felony charge that carries a $500 fine and up to five years behind bars.
While none of the agencies WCTV spoke to track the number of stolen signs, they say it's not uncommon for them to missing. Sometimes, though, it's not a thief but the city who takes them.
"Sometimes signs are picked up by code enforcement because you may not place a sign of any kind in the median or near a roadway," says Northway.
If you are worried about your signs being stolen, police say you can request extra patrols in your neighborhood.
However, police say the best thing you can do is simply bring your signs in at night and put them back out in the morning..