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Obama signs ripped off

Ed DeSisto a few weeks ago proudly put up two Barack Obama campaign signs at his house on the 200 block of Norfolk Avenue.

He stapled one to the garage and posted the other in his garden.

Sometime on Sunday or Monday, though, the two signs promoting the Democratic senator from Illinois disappeared from the DeSisto house, he says. An Obama sign also disappeared from the house of a next-door neighbor. Elsewhere on Norfolk Avenue, Obama signs were taken at about the same time, DeSisto says.

He says the disappearances are likely linked. DeSisto says they are "fairly childish" acts, but he maintains the perpetrators probably are not youngsters.

"I think if a kid was going to take them, they’d take one of them," he says. "It seems like someone made a sweep of the city."

DeSisto called the Park City Police Department to his house to report that the signs were taken. He spoke to two officers at his house, he said, but he had not completed the Police Department paperwork by Tuesday morning. Details about the police investigation are not immediately available.

He says the timing of the disappearance is "indicative (of) the understanding Obama has real momentum going."

The missing signs come about five weeks before Election Day, when Republican John McCain is expected to defeat Obama in Utah. But the returns in Summit County will likely be closer than they are statewide, and Obama may capture the vote in Park City, where Democrats have enjoyed strong showings for decades.

Campaign signs are posted throughout Park City’s neighborhoods, with signs supporting candidates in local campaigns appearing to outnumber those of the White House hopefuls.

DeSisto says he received the two signs from Obama’s Utah headquarters in Salt Lake City. State Democrats are also distributing Obama signs, and officials said in late September they had produced about 4,000. The state Democrats suggest a $10 donation in return for a sign.

The leader of the Summit County Democratic Party, chairwoman Laura Bonham, says signs for other party candidates are disappearing as well. She says people in South Summit have stolen some campaign signs of Kathy Lofft, the Democrat who is competing for a state House of Representatives seat.

"It doesn’t surprise me. Democratic signs are disappearing," says Bonham, who has been a Statehouse candidate previously, adding, "It’s part of what is campaigning — signs walk away."

But it is unclear whether Obama’s detractors are taking his signs. In the Park City area, Bonham says, Obama supporters could be taking the candidate’s signs because they do not want to pay for their own. She says younger people, who could be cash-strapped Obama supporters, might take the signs without realizing someone paid for them.

Bonham says the $10 suggested donation for an Obama sign is a steep price for a campaign sign. Many local candidates provide yard signs to supporters at no cost.

Meanwhile, Bonham says, the people who took signs like those stolen from DeSisto probably want to be part of Obama’s grass-roots campaign efforts. She says Democrats are energized by his White House bid.

"People want Obama swag . . . The demand is that incredible. I’ve never seen anything like it before," she says.

David Ure, the chairman of the Summit County Republican Party, says he is not aware of McCain signs being stolen. He says, though, the county party has not distributed the signs yet. Ure says he plans to start giving out McCain signs by midweek. He hopes to receive about 100 signs from the state Republican Party to distribute.


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