crime

Hundreds of Political Campaign Signs Stolen, Vandalized in San Jose

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Multiple candidates in different races say someone is stealing campaign signs in San Jose, in some cases, losing hundreds of signs.

San Jose City Council Candidate Rolando Bonilla says someone is taking his campaign signs so often, his team can barely keep up with replacing them. 

“Our signs will go up on Monday morning and come Monday night they’re gone,” said Bonilla.”That has been a consistent theme for us. The last couple of weeks, we’ve had to replace over 200 signs.”

And with a cost of $5 to $8 a sign, the losses add up fast.

There’s a political cost too. After thieves steal signs from front yards, often homeowners no longer want to put a new one up.

“You lose ground, people don’t want your sign on your front lawn because they don’t want trouble. Stealing it sends a threatening message and you shouldn’t have to go through that,” said Bonilla.

And it appears the thieves aren't just targeting one candidate, or one political race.

Mayoral candidate Matt Mahan says he's lost more than 300 signs. Some were stolen, others vandalized.

“There’s a cost of staff and signs but I’m even more concerned about the chilling effect on free speech,” said Mahan.

NBC Bay Area reached out to San Jose police who said they did receive one report of a sign being stolen from a homeowner's property back in April. They have no suspects, but say stealing the signs is a misdemeanor.

Both Mahan and Bonilla said they did not report the thefts to police.

For now, they are focused on campaigning and hope the criminals will stop interfering.

“I think it’s frustrating to see some people silence their neighbors,” said Mahan. “This isn’t appropriate no matter who you’re supporting.”

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