Curtis McCall Jr. awoke Thursday to phone calls from his campaign team and residents who reported that more than 500 of his mayoral campaign signs were stolen overnight.
“My signs were taken from throughout the village of Cahokia and no one saw or heard anything,” McCall said. “But, that just makes me more determined to work hard to be victorious.”
He said at least 35 signs were 4-by-4-foot signs, which he believes were difficult to remove quietly.
“All that is left of the spot where they were is hanging wire,” he said.
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McCall said he has neither time nor money to replace all of the signs because the election is just three weeks away.
“I am very disappointed. It appears that it is a real desperate attempt from my opposition to prevent change. But, they have to realize signs don’t vote, people do. And I feel confident that the McCall team will be victorious,” he said.
Incumbent Cahokia Mayor Gary Cornwell said he didn’t know anything about any missing McCall signs.
“We’ve got some missing, too, and this has been occurring over the last two weeks from a couple of locations. One of those locations is next door to a McCall supporter,” Cornwell said. Cornwell also said he has invested close to $9,000 in signs large and small.
Melba Sanders, Precinct 8 committee captain, said 77 small yard signs and one 4-by-4 sign were taken out of her precinct. She learned of the theft from a woman whose yard she left a sign in three days ago. “She told me that not only was her yard sign missing, but there were none in any of the other yards on her block,” Sanders said.
“I am really devastated. Do you know how much money and time goes into getting those signs and putting them out?” Sanders asked. “Those four-by-four signs are not easy to put up. All of that hard work we put in and in a matter of one night, it’s all torn down — devastating.”
Monica LaPlant said she was missing five big signs and 33 small ones from Precinct 18.
“My precinct had a traffic jam, just people wanting McCall signs. And for the last couple of weeks, people have been calling me saying their signs were missing. We’re a very dedicated and devoted team. Although we are upset over this, we will keep on working. It’s important, we think, for the people, so we will just work harder,” she said.
Cahokia Police Chief James Jones confirmed that McCall had filed a complaint. He said the police department is investigating.
Cahokia mayor candidate David Fults said he just learned Thursday afternoon that some of McCall’s signs were taken. He said he didn’t take them, and is also missing at least 50 signs.
“I never made a police report. I just keep replacing,” Fults said. “I have no idea who’s taking the signs. I hope the person is caught.”
The other mayor candidate, Courtney Moore, could not be reached. The election is April 7.