A 54-year-old man is charged with stealing approximately 130 campaigns signs from around the county which he admitted to painting over for his personal use. An alert deputy spotted the signs when the man's truck broke down and he was waiting for a wrecker. - Special photo
CONYERS -- Campaign signs are placed around the community to persuade voters to take action. One man, though, apparently thought all those signs were simply his for the taking.
Harold Chambers, 54, of 845 April Drive, was arrested Wednesday and charged with misdemeanor theft by taking for pilfering 130 campaign signs from around the county.
Rockdale County Sheriff's Office Investigator Michael Camp said the sheriff's office was notified of the thefts last week when a witness reported seeing Chambers remove campaign signs out of someone's yard.
On Monday, an RCSO deputy came across an abandoned truck near the intersection of Klondike and Smyrna roads that matched the description of Chambers' black and silver GMC Sonoma, according to a press release from the sheriff's office.
Camp said the deputy contacted Chambers who came back to wait for a tow truck to tow away the broken down vehicle.
"While standing by with Chambers, the deputy noticed several campaign signs located in the bed of the truck and remembered a lookout given last week of a similar truck seen taking campaign signs from someone else's property," the press release stated.
The deputy asked Chambers about the signs. Chambers told the deputy "that he painted over the signs for personal use and could show the deputy what he did to the signs at his house where he had more campaign signs," according to the press release.
The deputy then accompanied Chambers to his April Drive home, where the deputy found 125 more campaign signs, several of which had been painted over. Camp said some were laid out on his back deck.
Camp said in all, Chambers had 130 signs from 29 different political candidates. The signs all appear to be from local candidates, but politics doesn't appear to be the motive, Camp said.
"With 29 different candidates, it was spread evenly," he said. "It wasn't politically motivated and he apparently took them for his personal use."
Camp estimated the campaign signs cost about $5 apiece.
The signs are currently held at the sheriff's office until they can be returned to the appropriate candidates.