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Doodler attacks campaign sign

Jeff Schmucker Hernando Today
Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 05:49 PM

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One person's doodle is another's vandalized property.

Now drawing a pirate mustache and goatee on one city council candidate's political sign could put whoever's caught in a hairy legal situation after said candidate files a police report. She made it clear she plans to do so.

Betty Erhard said that after putting up her sign last week along U.S. 41 coming into Brooksville near the Hernando County fairgrounds, she was informed Tuesday that the picture of her on the campaign sign had been redecorated with drawn-on facial hair, a blackened tooth and what appears to be an unfinished blemish around her eye.

She said it's not that she doesn't have a sense of humor. However, political signs aren't cheap and she added she'll have to remove it and pay for a replacement.

"At least someone took the time to look at it," Erhard joked. "It's entertaining, if anything. But at first, I was more upset because of the expense to make these posters."

Police Chief George Turner said there have been no reports of other campaign signs being vandalized other than someone reporting they accidentally knocked one over with their vehicle before setting it back up.

"I don't even know how we know that," Turner joked. "But if she files a report we can keep an eye out for other signs being vandalized. Otherwise there's not much else we can do. It's difficult to find these people unless we have cameras that capture them doing it or witnesses."

So far this election season, there has been no report of vandalism of candidates' political signs or other advertisements other than the case where a man set fire to school board candidate Gus Guadagnino's car, which had a campaign sign on it.

The car had been parked behind Jerry's Place, in Spring Hill. Deputies used camera footage to help identify a man drinking at the same establishment that night as a suspect.

Denise Moloney, public information officer for the Hernando County Sheriff's Office, said there have been no reports of campaign-related vandalism since.

As of press deadline, Wednesday, Erhard hadn't filed a police report, but said she intended to soon. She has since removed the sign and plans to put up another one in a better-lighted area.

"If nothing else, at least there will be something on file that it happened," Erhard said. (352) 544-5271

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