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Final politicking in county executive race enlivened by sign caper

Call it the great sign caper.

Barely a local election goes by without an allegation of political sign stealing, and the race for county executive is no exception.

It all started Monday, according to the Collins camp, when campaign spokesman Stefan Mychajliw stopped by headquarters on Main Street in Amherst along with Republican candidate Chris Collins.

Outside the window, Mychajliw said, volunteers saw people in a silver van taking down Collins campaign signs and replacing them with signs for Democrat Mark Poloncarz. Mychajliw, a former television reporter, grabbed his camera and snapped some pictures.

The campaign called the police, emailed the press and promptly uploaded the photographs to Facebook.

Patrol officers who responded pulled a silver van over at Main Street and Transit Road. Several political signs were recovered, said Amherst Police Capt. Michael Camilleri.

"We were told that they are keeping our signs for evidence," Mychajliw said.

Mychajliw wasted no time in placing the blame on the Poloncarz campaign and labeled the incident the "latest in a disturbing pattern of dirty tricks."

Asked for comment, Poloncarz spokesman Peter Anderson said the people in the photographs had "absolutely no connection to our campaign."

"It's a last-minute distraction," Anderson said. "Mark remains focused on the issues."

As for the police report, Camilleri said Monday afternoon that police continue to look into the incident.

"We have referred it to the detective bureau," Camilleri said.

--Denise Jewell Gee


Erie County executive
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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

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Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

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