Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Great Lawn Sign Caper: Robin Hood Excuse

The kid says it was nothing but mischief but he still justifies it by suggesting he was doing the schools a favor. And if it was just mischief why go to the trouble of cutting out the “No” on the signs?

Of course he did the schools the ultimate disservice because some pundits would argue the resulting PR could have cost Overriders the margin of difference in the election.


Teenager linked to Amherst theft of override signs
By SCOTT MERZBACH staff Writer
AMHERST - Police have brought charges against an Amherst teenager they say may have been responsible for the theft of dozens of political signs last month.

A 17-year-old Amherst teen will be summoned to court on a charge of larceny under $250 as the result of his being identified in the theft of at least one "No More Overrides" sign from a West Street home on the night of April 21.

Because he is being summoned, his name has not yet been made public.

More than 75 of these political signs were taken from lawns between April 21 and 22, thefts that came little more than a week before the May 1 Proposition 21/2 debt-exclusion override for $2.5 million was defeated by voters.

Police Lt. Ron Young, head of the detective bureau, said the charges were filed after police recovered a cell phone found by the West Street homeowner.

"The cell phone recovered by a resident at the scene of the larceny produced information that tracked us back to this 17-year-old youth," Young said.

Young said the motivation for the boy's actions appeared to be primarily to cause mischief, though he said the boy attempted to justify the theft by expressing concern about the impact on the schools if the override were defeated.

Many of the signs, of which 150 had been placed on Amherst lawns on April 20, were later located at the high school, where they had been dumped and the word "no" had been cut out.

Young said other people may have been responsible for the thefts, but the boy that is being summoned has not identified any people who may have helped him.

"The investigation is continuing and we will follow any leads," Young said.

Being summoned to court means the boy will face a show cause hearing before a clerk magistrate, who will determine if an arraignment should be held.


Canne said...

FYI (according to my high schooler) The signs were displayed on the high school lawn (with the "no" removed) prior to ending up in the dumpster.

Individuals at the high school would've been aware of the theft of the signs- and yet no one contacted police (or you) when they ended up on the school's lawn???

Larry Kelley said...

Yeah, that strikes me as pretty strange. Maybe it was like the Kitty Genovese murder in Queens where numerous eyewitnesses failed to alert police figuring someone else must have.

Stranger still, within the first 24 hours of the caper after we had announced a larger sign reorder to replace the stolen ones, we heard a rumor that those too would be stolen and the word “No” cut off.

maryd said...

According to yesterdays Republican the South Amherst youth is a FORMER Amherst high student.

Any idea when the hearing is?

Larry Kelley said...

Yeah, I saw that in the Republican. The kid is 17, so maybe he recently dropped out, but obviously still has affection for his school (in a warped sort of way.)

Courts are pretty backed up so the Hearing will not be until June or so. And the Clerk Magistrate could simply decide, "Boys will be boys" and let him off.

But last I looked, we have former Democratic Politicians as Clerk Magistrates (Nancy Flavin and Bill Nagle) and Dems are not exactly known for being tough on crime.

But you would HOPE the Clerk would at least ask the kid for the names of accomplices (he seems to admit he had them) and if he refuses to answer it may tick off the Clerk enough to arraign him, for insubordination if nothing else.

And then we get his name.

I would also love to know how long those signs stayed up on High School grounds before ending up in the dumpster.