SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- Two candidates for Santa Barbara School Board, Brian Campbell and Elrawd MacLearn said over 100 combined campaign signs have been stolen.
Campbell said he's noticed his signs being taken, knocked over, or run over throughout the voting district. While the youngest in the seven-candidate race, MacLearn, is shocked at how his signs are being treated.
"It's a violation of that person's freedom of speech," said Campbell. "It's trespassing."
"I expect more from Santa Barbara," add MacLearn. "Whether that was an angry email or someone saying something nasty to me on social media, even folks stealing my signs, all that does is prove to me how much change we actually need in this community."
"It's just more disturbing that people don't respect each other's personal right to the freedom of speech," said Campbell. "That they don't respect their neighbor's opinions, that they take it upon themselves to take this illegal action."
In a video, Campbell said one of his supporter's home security cameras caught someone taking one of his signs, putting it in their car and driving off. Campbell said his signs are being treated differently around town.
"I see competitors' signs and national and federal signs posted in the same places and doesn't seem that anybody really voices an opinion about those," said Campbell.
MacLearn said there might be a silver lining to it all.
"If people are stooping to stealing signs," said MacLearn, "that means they perceive me as a real threat. They see, oh man, this guy might win. So the possibility is there. So that's super encouraging to me."
KEYT reached out to the other five candidates about their signs. Alvarez's campaign manager said they've had some signs go missing. The others have not said they had issues with signs being stolen.
Santa Barbara police said if someone is caught stealing campaign signs the punishment could be up to a $1,000 dollar fine or up to 6 months in jail.