Vandalized signs

The Parker County Sheriff’s Office has received three reports of destroyed political signs from local candidates and is looking into the incidents, which can end with a vandalism charge and possibly trespassing depending on where the signs were located. 

As of Monday, the Parker County Sheriff’s Office had received three reports of destroyed political signs from local election races and is currently looking into the incidents.

Gregory Scott Gates, who is running for Parker County sheriff, said he discovered three of his signs had been destroyed last week.

“You can tell they’ve been cut up and you can tell it was a razor,” Gates said. “This will be the third one so far and I’m so mad right now. These things cost about $40 a piece and I bought 40 of these signs, which was like $1,600, and then I bought 500 of the little ones.”

One of the signs was placed on the property of Gates’ friend, John Tracy.

“I put a sign up for [Gates] in my front yard on private property on Jan. 3 and when I went out Saturday morning [Jan. 4], it looked to be like a shotgun blast blown through it and destroyed the sign,” Tracy said. “It was on my property. There needs to be justice for this because this is a political race and I’m sure it’s politically motivated.”

Gates said two of his signs had been thrown in a ditch on the side of the road between Weatherford and Granbury and were discovered by Russell Hess, another sheriff’s race candidate, who then called Gates.

“They were found between [Farm-to-Market Road] 51 and FM 171 heading towards Granbury,” Gates said. “I haven’t even put one sign out there — I have not been on that side of [Interstate] 20.”

Hess confirmed that he notified Gates about the signs.

“I don’t have any signs out yet, but I won’t be up until November, so I’m just waiting to see who wins the [March] primary,” Hess, Libertarian, said. “I saw [Gates] signs torn up on the side of the road and I called him and told him.”

Precinct 3 Commissioner Larry Walden said he had a couple of political signs vandalized as well.

Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler, who is running for reelection, said they couldn’t give out details because of an active investigation, but they have not identified a suspect at this time.

“We have had three reports of damage to political signs, but nothing really major as of yet,” Fowler said. “The charge could involve vandalism and, depending on the location of the sign, trespassing.”

The Weatherford Democrat contacted all the candidates running for local office to ask about vandalized signs.

“I haven’t had any vandalized, though I do have some missing,” Darrell Hull, sheriff’s candidate, said. “I know that I had two missing two weeks ago and I think I had one missing last week, and most of these have been yard signs.”

Matt Drikas, who is running for Precinct 3 commissioner, said he has also had some signs missing, but not destroyed.

“I don’t know if they’ve been destroyed or vandalized, but they’ve gone missing,” Drikas said. “It was in the Millsap area, but other than that I’ve got them spread out all over the place. On my way to take the kids to school, down Old Millsap Road, it looked like someone had torn down one of [Precinct 3 commissioner] Larry Walden’s signs.”

Fred Hammons, sheriff’s candidate, said he had not yet put out signs.

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