ROXBURY, N.J. - Three candidates for the Roxbury School Board contend their election signs were stolen this week, while their opponents' were left in place, and they are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to a conviction.
"It's unbelievable to me that somebody is willing to risk a crime to do this," said Laurel Whitney, campaign manager for candidates .
Lisa Millus, Peter Okun and Meredith Soranno are running as a team called Accountability, Commitment and Transparency (A.C.T.) The trio, all newcomers to school board politics, are challenging a team endorsed by a group called C.A.R.E. - for Concerned Advocates for Roxbury Education. The CARE candidates are incumbents Richard Alexander and Carol Scheneck as well as newcomer Dan Masi.
Whitney said all of A.C.T.'s signs on Main Street, Eyland Avenue and Righter Road in Succasunna were ripped out of the ground on Oct. 3. "In most cases, they were right next to the C.A.R.E. signs, which are still there. So we were directly targeted here," she said.
Okun, who said 15 to 20 signs were removed, said he plans to file a report with the Roxbury Police Department.A.C.T. might have information that will help police investigate the matter.
"Somebody witnessed a guy with dark hair and a Ford pickup truck picking them up and throwing them in the back of his truck," Whitney said. She said the witness saw this take place at about 7:30 p.m. near the intersection of Route 10 and Main Street, near Suburban Furniture.
"There was also a witness (who saw signs being stolen) yesterday at 7:25 a.m." she said.
Additionally, A.C.T. signs have been stolen from lawns of homeowners who gave the candidates permission to place them on their property, Whitney said. "Stealing signs is not a prank and it's not politics," she commented. "It's a crime as well as a compromise to the democratic process."
Scheneck, a lawyer, said A.C.T. isn't the only victim of sign theft. "We have had at least 10 signs disappear too," she said. "I have noticed some signs of ours disappearing. I'm not making any accusations ... We certainly would not take any signs down. We are respectful that both sides have the right to put up signs."