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Office-seekers' yard signs disappear in Belfield: Felony's-worth of Dem's propaganda missing

Over the weekend, $325 worth of District 36 Democratic ticket signs were apparently stolen from Belfield and from Rep. Shirley Meyer's property. A sign north of Dickinson near the New Hradec turn off on Highway 22 was also missing Tuesday.

The first thefts were a misdemeanor; the north side sign theft bumped the value up to a felony if the thefts are by the same person(s), Senate Candidate Rich Brauhn said.

"This has just gone too far," he said. "These tactics are basically goon tactics of Nazi Germany and we're just not going to tolerate it."

The Stark County Sheriff's Office is investigating.

"It looks pretty deliberate," SCSO Capt. Dean Franchuk said.

While the district's Republican candidates hope that their supporters are not stealing signs, if they are, the GOP wishes them to stop.

"Stop doing it," Senate Candidate Kelly Armstrong said. "It's petty and silly and stupid."

The Republican ticket has had signs removed by the North Dakota Department of Transportation, also in Belfield, House Candidate Alan Fehr said. He would hope any sign removals of his opponents were also official NDDOT removals.

Meyer said she was under the impression that if any signs are not in agreement with state law, the sign owners are to be notified and given 10 days to be in compliance.

There have been a few signs removed for right-of-way violations in the Dickinson area, spokeswoman Peggy Anderson said.

Any signs in the right-of-way, the ditch on either side of the highway, are either removed or owners are asked to remove them, Anderson said. The sign owners are notified either way.

"Safety is DOT's No. 1 priority and we do need to watch -- think about the safety of motorists," Anderson said. "Anything that is in the ditch is a hazard."

The District 36 Democrats received no warning, leading them to believe that it was indeed theft, Meyer said.

"It's just absolutely disappointing," she said. "That's not part of the process. It's extremely difficult to ask people for money and to ask them for placement of these signs, but it's part of the process and that's what we do."

Katherine Grandstrand
I graduated from Bemidji State University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in mass communcations, from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 with a master's degree in journalism.  
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