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Man arrested for taking 130 campaign signs

Candidates whose signs were taken included (in no particular order): Brian Jenkins, Robert Mumford, Earnelle Winfrey, Jeff Wigington, Eric Levett, Donald Ferguson, Charles Mays, Sharon Pharr, Sam Smiley, Tim Williams, Gary Washington, Lincoln Nunnally, Cornell Brown, Richard Oden, Jason Hill, Tom Harrison, Jerry Sheppard, Sharon Sawyer, Dan Ray, Caycie Dix, Doreen Williams, Jo Coggins, Rudy Horne, Kimberly Baker, Mandy North, Kathy Harvey, Tony Dowdy.

A Conyers man was arrested after admitting to taking campaign signs from about 29 different candidates across the political spectrum.

On Monday, Aug. 6, a deputy with the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call for a truck left abandoned in the roadway near the intersection of Klondike Road and Smyrna Road. A few minutes later, the deputy located the truck’s owner, Harold Chambers, 54, and waited with him until a tow truck could arrive.

While standing by with Chambers, the deputy noticed several campaign signs located in the bed of the truck. Last week a lookout alert had been given of a similar truck seen taking campaign signs from private property.

When the deputy asked Chambers about the signs, he said that he painted over the signs for personal use and could show the deputy what he did to the signs at his house where he had more campaign signs.

When the deputy and an investigator arrived at Chambers’ house they counted well over one hundred campaign signs, several of which had already been painted over.

“He was painting them a cream-tan color. He was re-using them for personal use,” said Investigator Michael Camp.

The signs were taken without permission but it did not appear that the campaign sign thefts were politically motivated, said Camp.

In total, 130 campaign signs from 27 different political candidates were recovered from the house and truck.

On Wednesday morning, Aug. 8, Chambers was arrested for misdemeanor Theft by Taking and is currently being held in the Rockdale County Jail awaiting bond.

Chief Magistrate Judge Rudy Horne, who is running for re-election, typically sets bonds and hears first appearance hearings. However, Chambers was not listed as being on Horne's schedule for Wednesday, according to the Magistrate Court office.

The signs are being stored at the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office until they can be returned to the candidates that they belong to.


UPDATE: Chambers had a first appearance hearing before Judge Rudy Horne Wednesday. Chambers reportedly had five signs for Horne's campaign among the 130 signs. Chambers was released on a $1000 bond set Thursday by Superior Court Judge Sidney Nation, who is retiring at the end of this year.