Video: Rash of election sign thefts prompts investigation in Brampton

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Published October 7, 2022 at 6:16 pm

The Municipal Election season is well underway, but some voters are taking the spirit of democratic competition to criminal heights.

Incumbent Brampton regional councillor Pat Fortini is in the midst of a re-election run. As such he’s distributed hundred of lawn signs as any candidate would.

However, many of Fortini’s signs have gone missing over the weeks of campaigning. “Some people are getting desperate and pulling out my signs in an effort to lower my chances to win the race,” Fortini said.

A supporter sent Fortini a video of their lawn and driveway. The security footage shows the length of the driveway, with a Fortini sign stuck into the ground to the left, close to the road.

A dark sedan pulls up in front of the sign, steps out of his car and grabs it. He then hops back in the car and takes off.

These thefts tend to raise their heads during campaign seasons. Back in the Federal election last year a garbage collection worker was charged and fired in the Town of Whitby after throwing Liberal MP Ryan Turnbull’s sign in his garbage truck.

Closer to home for Bramptonians during the spring Ontario election, Liberal Brampton West candidate Rimmy Jhajj had a sign stolen as well by a man in a landscaping truck. Brampton West PC MPP Amarjot Sandhu also reported missing signs that campaign.

Tampering with an election sign is against the Elections Canada Act and is often prosecuted as theft under $5,000 or mischief under $5,000.

“Signs don’t give votes, it’s your track record and accomplishments that give you votes,” Fortini said, “I am well-known in the community and residents can check my records. I have never defrauded anyone unlike the suspect in the video.”

He also said police were investigating the theft and they had a video that showed the thief’s plates.

The election sign drama in Brampton isn’t limited to thefts either. The city has removed more than 500 illegally placed candidate signs so far. The signs were connected to 28 candidates across the city, though a Brampton spokesperson did not specify which ones.

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