The RCMP have been called in – sort of – as Alberta's election campaign heats up.
Candidates and volunteers from across the province have been reporting missing or damaged signs since the campaign formally began March 26. Most simply persevere, occasionally taking to Twitter to vent frustration.
In tiny Two Hills, Alta., though, it was enough to get police involved.
Mounties sent out a notice Friday evening saying that some time between Monday and Thursday morning of last week, “unknown person(s)” destroyed a series of “Political Candidate Signs” in an around Two Hills, which is about two hours east of Edmonton.
That riding is largely a two-horse race, pitting incumbent Tory Ray Danyluk against Wildrose candidate Shayne Saskiw, who is also the party's executive director.
The police notice came as a surprise to Mr. Saskiw, who says it's common for candidates on all sides to see signs stolen, destroyed or moved – but he didn't think his riding was any worse.
“I think both sides have had a few [damaged]here and there, but nothing in particular,” Mr. Saskiw said.
Police weren't taking it so lightly.
“The RCMP would like the public to note that vandalism and theft of campaign signs can result in large fines or even jail time, as it is a criminal offence,” the RCMP said.
Presumably, that crime would be mischief, damaging something under $5,000 in value, which carries both a maximum two years in prison – a highly unlikely outcome.
Nonetheless, if you find the Two Hill Sign Bandit(s), RCMP want to know about it.