Night-Vision Camera at Private Residence Captures Election-Sign Vandalism

Two men who tore down a Bush-Cheney sign and urinated on it were caught on videotape by Summit County Republican officials early Friday morning.

The videotape shows the men sneaking into the yard of a West Market Street home in Akron and bending the sign to the ground. The men struggled to rip the sign out of the ground by shaking it and pulling it but couldn't get it off the posts, so they knocked it down. Sounds heard on the tape suggest the men urinated on the sign. They were white males, about 30 to 35 years old, well-dressed and well-groomed. They parked across the street in what police think was a foreign car, a Toyota or Honda.

The homeowner, Steve Kotsatos, who is also assistant to the director of the Summit County Board of Elections, called Akron police dispatchers at 10:38 a.m. Friday and told them about how his campaign sign was vandalized.

He said he caught the vandals on a night-vision camera he had installed the day before.

"A couple of days ago my neighbor's sign was set on fire with a blowtorch so I figured I might be next,'' Kotsatos said. "This is not only criminal damaging but a safety hazard.''

The large 4-by-8-foot, red, white and blue sign was tipped over in Kotsatos' yard about 1 a.m. Friday.

John Kerry's name was scrawled across Bush's name in black marker on one side of the sign -- the work of previous vandals, Kotsatos said.

He discovered the bent sign at 6:45 a.m.

Police took a report of the incident and retrieved a copy of the videotape to review. No arrests have been made.

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