Let's be real. When you're a journalist or work in media, people are always sharing information with you, believing the 'data' has the makings of a 'big' story.

If we had a dollar for every time someone (and they're well-meaning, really) approached us with a potential 'issue' we'd be rich.

in this case, Campaign signs, election season. Technically, it is a crime to destroy, deface or remove someone's campaign signs. Everyone's had a sign or two busted up if they ran for office. Every cycle we see or hear about allegations, and most of the time, they're rather small.

But in this case, when patterns emerge, we tend to take a closer look.   We've received information from several sources, along with photographs, of what appears to be an ongoing pattern of removal, vandalism, and destruction of signs supporting embattled Benton County Sheriff Jerry Hatcher.

Facebook source (request of anonymous)

Regardless of how you vote in the recall election, this raises an eyebrow. The following is a list of locations where these big yellow signs were either defaced, removed or vandalized/destroyed, from two sources:

"...Highway 240 & Duportail; Columbia Park Trail & Queensgate Roundabout; Columbia Park Trail & Rockwood; Columbia Park Trail across from new winery; Duportail and Keene across from Maverick's; Queensgate and I182 across from Lifetime Dental."    

We've also received some images of signs that were torn up at the Steptoe and 240 Roundabout.  Some of these date back to April, Most of them are more recent. In total, we've been able to verify well into the double-digits the number of signs affected. Signs have also been reported stolen from several people's yards.

Besides being destroyed (cut up smashed) signs have been stolen, knocked over, and some of the large ones have had their supporting zip ties cut all the way around--see below.

Facebook source (request anonymous)

It's ironic that Recall Hatcher and Support Hatcher signs are almost identical, except for the added words 'recall' or 'support'.

No doubt it's a very hot-button issue that has caused a lot of serious, angry, and even alarming debate on social media.  We've had a chance to check out or 'vet' this information, and the information we've seen appears to be legitimate.

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It's also been noted that other campaign signs for other races and candidates have been left untouched at the locations where these signs were vandalized.

This one had zip ties and nylon chords cut on one side.

Facebook source (requested anonymous)

It is quite possible the culprit(s) is an outside third-person party who is trying to stir the pot and point a finger at the Recall Movement.  As acrimonious as this situation is, from the people we've talked to, we doubt it's supporters or recall people.

Most of them realize tearing up other people's signs is juvenile, doesn't bring people to your side, and if you actually ever get caught, it is a misdemeanor.

What we do know is, somebody is doing this, and it's an unwelcome distraction from the real issues at hand.

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