VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - Two candidates hoping to be the next mayor of Edgewater, Florida, a city northeast of Orlando, may ultimately take their fight to court over the alleged stealing of political campaign signs.
Former Edgewater Mayor Michael Ignasiak and Diezel Depew are opponents in the Edgewater mayor race. Depew has accused Ignasiak of removing his campaign signs from a street corner, and reportedly caught the act on surveillance video.
"I was shocked, I was saddened, and I couldn't believe he could do such a thing. We've known the guy for years and years," Depew said.
According to an incident report, both candidates claim to have received permission from a business owner to place campaign signs near his business, near Highway One and Joseph Drive. Depew told deputies that he noticed some of his campaign signs were being removed from other areas, including the one near the business, and decided to place a camera in the area.
"They, unfortunately, saw my opponent, through a camera, taking my campaign signs," Depew said.
The report states that on Oct. 22, Depew's camera caught someone in a black truck pull into the parking lot of the business that morning, pickup one of Depew's campaign signs, and place it in the truck before leaving. Depew said he placed a second sign to replace the one that was taken and hours later, the same truck returned to the parking lot and someone removed his sign.
Deputies confirmed the truck belonged to Ignasiak, Depew's opponent in the race, and that the person taking the sign was Ignasiak. The video shows Ignasiak also removing the sign of another political hopeful, Volusia County Council candidate Ted Noftall. He says it's playing dirty.
"It's become very partisan, become very polarized, very bitter. So this gentleman just ended up on camera, proving the point," Noftall said.
When reached by deputies, according to the report, Ignasiak said he removed the signs because they were blocking his political signs and were placed in the right of way, which isn't allowed. Detectives in the report confirmed that both signs were in the right of way, but that "only an authorized city employee can remove any signs which violate any city ordinances."
Ignasiak was charged with petty theft, and the case was submitted to State Attorney's Office for review.