|Updated: 9/24/2012 5:44 pm
||Published: 9/24/2012 5:01 pm
CONWAY, AR - The Faulkner County sheriff's race is "heating up," literally. Both candidates say dozens of their campaign signs are missing or damaged. In one case, someone actually lit a campaign sign on fire.
"It's getting just totally ridiculous," said Sheriff Candidate Tommy Earnhart who's missing more than 60 of his campaign signs. "Leave the signs alone and the best individual that the people want is gonna win. I mean, let's just be grown-ups about it."
Earnhart's opponent, Andy Shock, says more than 200 of his signs are missing or damaged, including a burned sign in of all places the front yard of his wife's 82-year-old grandmother.
"Love her like she's my own grandma," said Shock, "and for somebody to do this, you know her being 82-years-old, is appalling."
Anyone caught taking a sign can face up to a $2500 fine or even spend a year in jail. That is, however, unless they work at the Highway Department.
The Highway Department has dozens of campaign signs in a fenced in area behind their Faulkner County maintenance building. Workers pick them up off the road regularly if the signs are placed illegally, usually on a highway right-of-way. The fenced in area currently has four Shock signs and one Earnhart sign, but that still doesn't explain the dozens of others still missing, or in Shock's grandmother-in-law's case, burned.
"I can forgive them," said Christine Kelley, Shock's grandmother-in-law, "but that's just the way the world is now I reckon."
The sheriff's office reports that a witness to the campaign sign burning says they saw a beige Chevy Avalanche with a yellowish tint leaving the scene.
As for losses, Earnhart says his missing signs cost about $270. Shock says all of his missing signs cost more than $1000. Neither candidate thinks the other is responsible, but they don't know who is.