RUMFORD – Police are investigating the theft of blue and white political signs asking people to “Vote Yes to Wind Energy” and to “Vote Yes on the Wind Ordinance.”
More than three dozen signs that were placed Monday along Route 108 and from Rumford Center to the bottom of Falls Hill on Route 2, were gone by Tuesday morning, said J. Arthur Boivin, who helped place the signs along the roadways.
“This is totally ridiculous and illegal as hell,” said Boivin, who with another man, was going around replacing the missing signs Tuesday.
Taking, defacing or disturbing political signs is a civil violation with a possible fine of up to $250 per sign.
Boivin said 50 signs were taken. Some had the paper sign ripped off the metal frame and the frame left standing; two were yanked up and thrown onto a baseball field. But most were simply gone.
“To me, these signs say Rumford is open for business” if the ordinance is approved, Boivin said.
Police Sgt. Douglas Maifeld said Tuesday that they had no suspects.
“Apparently, people don’t have anything better to do,” Maifeld said. “If you don’t like the message on a sign, then vote against it; don’t steal the sign.”
Town Manager Carlo Puiia said the signs were still in place Monday night when he was returning home from the town business meeting which ended at 9:30 p.m.
“There’s still some around town, but there’s a number of them that were removed without authorization,” Puiia said.
“It’s troubling. It’s one thing to think that it’s a random act of vandalism or an act of some of the opposition that were probably upset or concerned about First Wind’s placing the signs out,” he said.
The signs were paid for by Boston-based wind developer First Wind, which has had a $65 million wind farm project on hold for two years to allow Rumford to draft an ordinance to regulate such development.
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