Stolen campaign signs quickly recovered in Columbiana

Published 2:25 pm Monday, July 23, 2012


COLUMBIANA — A case of theft of political signs of Dr. Stancil Handley has been solved, thanks to the quick action of Columbiana citizens and Columbiana police officers.

Handley, a Columbiana optometrist, city council member and candidate for Columbiana mayor in the Aug. 28 election, said a citizen witnessed a man tearing down one of his signs on Shelby County 47 South in Columbiana.

That citizen followed the man and wrote down his car tag number. Columbiana police ran the car tag and got the name and address of the person, Handley said.

About an hour later, two other citizens witnessed the man tearing down another, larger and more expensive Handley campaign sign.

“Apparently, the man was going around, tearing down my signs and throwing them in the back of his truck,” he said.

This information was also relayed to Columbiana police.

“The police simply sat at his house and waited for him to come home,” Handley said.

Handley said he is aware of the identity of the suspect, but would not share that information, saying it should come from police officials.

Columbiana Police Chief Lamar Vick said on Monday afternoon he has signed an arrest warrant for the man for theft, but refused to name him until that warrant is served and an arrest is made. Vick said the arrest would occur in the next “couple of days.”

Vick said he did not arrest the man at the time of his questioning because he wanted to gather other information, like the value of the signs stolen.

Vick said the man is not a resident of Columbiana and that he does not think he is affiliated or working with any other candidate in this year’s election.

“He doesn’t even live in Columbiana. He lives on the other side of Shelby. He’s not connected with anything in Columbiana that I know of,” Vick said.

Vick said the man did not have Handley’s signs in his possession when he was questioned, but he admitted to taking them and directed police to where the stolen signs were located. Police have recovered those signs.

Handley said he appreciates the work of the observant Columbiana citizens and Columbiana police.

“I thank that police department very much for their prompt work on this,” he said. “I mean, you can’t be more efficient than that, sitting and waiting on him when he got home. I was really impressed by how seriously they took this and how quickly they acted. This was a very immature act and I hope this puts a stop to it,” Handley said.