Sheriff candidate losing signs to thieves

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - A candidate for Sheriff in Thomas County says thieves are stealing his campaign signs.

Dale Mattila says dozens of his signs have disappeared over the last week.

His opponent says that's something that happens in every election.

Former Miami-Dade County law enforcer Dale Mattila says he's paying more money than he expected, in campaign signs. "For whatever reason, their motive is, they're going to remove them. Even if they didn't think it's going to have an effect. But I just put more signs out. It costs me a few more dollars, but it is what it is."

Mattila says several of his signs on U.S. 319 and Pinetree Boulevard have been removed by thieves.

But he says he is not letting it get him down. "I'm moving forward with boots on the ground, and making as many contacts as I can out there."

His opponent, incumbent Sheriff Carlton Powell, says sign theft is quite common during election season. "Welcome to the club. When you run for public office you can't think you're going to stick your signs up and everybody is going to keep them up. You know I have some of mine taken down."

Powell says the hardest part about running for sheriff, is being the sheriff. "Of course the incumbent sheriff always has to continue to do his job and try to do the political part which involves getting the signs out and allowing people to know that you're interested in running again."

Mattila says he really doesn't mind having to replace the signs, as long as he can make a difference. "I'm not doing it because I need a job and a paycheck. I'm doing it to make a positive change for the citizens of Thomas County and the men and women of the sheriff's office."

Powell says he just wants to continue doing what's best for the taxpayers.  "The thing of it is all of us have to keep our belts tight because of the budget. And taxpayers are the ones who have the fit the bill for whatever we do in improvements."

Folks in Thomas County can vote for either Powell or Mattila in the November General Election.

The Department of Transportation reminds candidates not to place their signs in rights of way close to roads, although the DOT says it did not pick up any of Mattila's signs.

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