Thieves plead in campaign sign theft
November 1, 2004
Two men were released from jail Monday after pleading guilty to the theft of political signs from an east Carson City neighborhood this weekend.
Justice of the Peace Robey Willis accepted guilty pleas to misdemeanor petty larceny and destruction of property from John McClintock, 24, and Nicholas Leman, 23.
Both were sentenced to time served and 48 hours of community service.
The two were arrested early Saturday morning after homeowner Steve Leonard, 39, spotted them ripping Bush/Cheney campaign signs from his fence on Sunchase Court.
According to police records, when Leonard saw McClintock, a casino cook, and Leman, unemployed, removing the signs about midnight, he tried to stop them.
When they attempted to flee, “(Leonard) shot a single round into the air with his .38 revolver,” Carson City Sheriff’s Deputy Tara Collier wrote in her report. Collier said Leonard ordered both men to remain where they were until police arrived.
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“When they again attempted to flee, (Leonard) hit (McClintock) to the ground,” the report states.
Later, Leonard called police to report he could see other Bush/Cheney signs in a vehicle belonging to one of the suspects. Collier impounded the vehicle.
Sheriff Kenny Furlong said a report has been forwarded to the Carson City District Attorney’s Office regarding charges against Leonard for firing a weapon in his neighborhood.
“It’s against the law,” he said. “Every election year, we go through sign theft. People who take up arms as a result of it cannot justify that action.”
Furlong said in recent weeks there have been more than two dozen reports of stolen or “obliterated” campaign signs, both Republican and Democratic.
“I understand the emotional draw the elections have on people, and this one especially since it’s so hotly contested, but there is an extent to which people can go,” he said.
On the night McClintock and Leman were arrested, at least four other homes in the neighborhood reported their campaign signs had been stolen.
Carol Brooking said she discovered her three signs missing from her Kerrine Circle front yard on Sunday morning.
“It doesn’t make a difference now. We’ve already voted. It’s just someone else coming along to take something away from you,” she said. “It made me mad.”
Contact reporter F.T. Norton at email@example.com or 881-1213.