NEW BERN, Craven County - The election season started with a problem for one local candidate.
A thief has been caught on camera stealing Ann Schoute's campaign signs. Surveillance video from the security business across the street has captured the thief in action. Now, the questions are who and why.
"I had been told there would be bumps in the road, and I have to look at this like its a bump," Schoute said. "I don't like the bump, but its something I have to deal with."
Schoute has been putting her political signs, which cost $12 each, for her campaign as New Bern Alderman for Ward 1 out near Pollock and Queen Street quite often, four times to be exact. Every time she puts some out, they go missing. Now, she feels like she's being targeted.
She's enlisted the help of the Coastal Security Systems, a business right across the street from where her signs have been stolen. The security cameras caught someone in the act of stealing the signs.
Facebook video of the sign theft on Monday
"It's almost like you're violated," Schoute said. "It's like any other theft, you feel ... it kinda gets personal.
"So all totaled, I have lost seven signs in three tries and we will just not let this person win. We are going to keep putting signs up. If I keep losing more, I keep losing more. but at this point it's become a point of honor.
"We got a video of a person pulling a white SUV up and stopping on 5:28 in the morning on monday and running out, grabbing two signs throwing them in the back of the passesnger side of the SUV and then jumping back in the car and leaving."
New Bern Police said this is a misdemeanor larceny punishable by up to 30 days in jail and $200 in fines. Schoute just wants answers.
"I'd like to know why they are doing it, but I may never know that," Schoute said. "I would just hope that they would just stop now and that we would have a nice peaceful campaign for the rest of the time."
Schoute isn't the only candidate running for office who has had signs stolen. New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw said some of his have gone missing from the same area.
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