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
taggedErie County executive