Tag Archives: campaign signs

City Attorney Charges Two Men In Campaign Sign Theft Case

By Stan Lynch
Managing Editor

The Burbank City Attorney filed charges this morning in yet another case involving the theft of election campaign signs.    Sevada Isayan, 26, of Burbank; and Vahe Assarian, 25, of Glendale, were both charged with petty theft, a misdemeanor.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The criminal filings are a result of an incident that occurred on March 12.  Police stopped two men in a vehicle in the 900 block of E. Tujunga Ave., around 10 p.m.  Inside the vehicle officers found several campaign signs.  Reportedly, all but one of the signs was for Burbank School Board candidate Char Tabet.

The suspects allegedly told officers that they were just “recycling” old campaign signs after the February 26, primary election.  However Tabet is  still a candidate in the April 9, run-off election.  Although a report was taken at the time the pair were stopped by police, they were not arrested.

An investigation was conducted by the Burbank Police Department, and the case referred to the City Attorney’s Office to determine if charges would be filed.  According to Senior Assistant City Attorney Denny Wei, it takes time for the case to be evaluated and a determination on whether it would be referred for prosecution.

All of the candidates running for the two open seats on the Burbank Board of Education were contacted, including former candidate Armond Aghakhanian, who is not in the run-off election. Each of the candidates, Char Tabet, Steve Ferguson, David Dobson, and Larry Applebaum, stated that the two men accused of taking the signs are not connected to their campaigns.  Aghakhanian also stated that the two men were not part of his former campaign. A volunteer on Ferguson’s campaign, Scott Trinidad, was caught on video tape taking two Tabet signs from in front of a business on Magnolia Blvd. on February 11.  He entered a plea of no contest to petty theft of property valued at less than $50, an infraction.  He was fined $200 in addition to being accessed $750 in penalties.

Although the two suspects do not have any apparent links to the candidates, they are connected to the campaign of Glendale Board of Education member Greg Krikorian.  Krikorian was just elected to a fourth term on the Glendale School Board on April 2.  His office said the two men had been volunteers on Krikorian’s campaign.

When asked why she was apparently the target of sign thefts, which she compared to “being on the level of high school pranks,” candidate Tabet said, “Perhaps they picked me because I’m the biggest threat to the other candidates,” adding, “Of the non-incumbents I have the most experience and a record of finishing what I start.”

Isayan and Assarian are scheduled to appear in the Burbank Superior Court on April 25.  The maximum penalty for violating section 484 of the California Penal Code is 6 months in jail, and a $1,000 fine. When state mandated penalties are added in, that amount could increase to around $4,000, according to Wei.

Ferguson Admits to Campaign Worker Stealing Lawn Signs

After the BurbankNBeyond exclusive report of campaign signs being stolen from a business on Magnolia, an email was sent to BurbankNBeyond by Burbank School Board candidate Steve Ferguson taking responsibility for a campaign worker who can be seen in the video removing signs for fellow candidate Charlene Tabet.

video of signs being removed  sign theft video

While Ferguson admits to the person working on his campaign, the candidate says he had no knowledge of his actions and does not condone the action in any way.  Attempts to contact Ferguson were not returned and the person allegedly involved was not identified.

The letter sent to Talbot from Ferguson is below.

Dear Charlene,

It has recently come to my attention on Burbank ‘N’ Beyond that some of your signs were taken from some of your supporters. After reviewing the tape, I immediately recognized the individual as one of my own campaign volunteers.
I cannot express how sorry I am for this incident. Please know that I honestly did not ask for or condone this action as I too have had signs taken and know of both the personal pain and frustration that comes with missing signs.
I take full responsibility for my volunteer’s action and I would like to ask for you to send me a list of all the  properties with missing signs. Not only will I replace them but I will also personally apologize for the conduct of my volunteer to every household impacted.
This is not what my campaign is about and I certainly know this is not what your campaign is about either. I have asked that this volunteer mail you an apology and I can only hope that we continue to move forward as we discuss the future of education in this community that both you and I cherish.
Sincerely,
Steve Ferguson
UPDATED Feb 14 – 3:30 pm
Steve Ferguson was reached by phone to reiterate that the worker, who is a volunteer, had no authorization for his actions and he was willing to replace any sign that the worker had taken.  As for the workers status, Ferguson replied that his role has been greatly diminished and that he will be closely watched in all further campaign activities from this point forward.  He also commented on the fact that many of his signs have been taken in the past – not as an excuse for this incident – and that the entire campaign sign handling day in and day out ‘has been a real headache’ .
Charlene Tabet has also issued a statement that was sent to BurbankNBeyond and it is listed below:
Steven,

Thank you for your letter in regards to the person or persons involved with stealing my campaign signs at the business property on Magnolia Blvd.

I appreciate you taking responsibility for the person involved with your campaign regarding the theft of my signage.  I would like to ask how involved this person is with your campaign?   Is he simply a campaign volunteer or a close friend as well?  I am asking because it has been reported by several community leaders that this individual has been seen with you on numerous occasions and at several city and campaign related events.  It is also reported that this individual should have known better due to the fact that this individual has many mutual friends on Facebook who are involved in politics in the community and beyond

I would greatly appreciate you returning my signs that are in your campaigns possession in addition to any that have previously been stolen.

Thank you again,

Char

UPDATED: Reports of Campaign Signs Being Stolen as Election Looms

For the second time in this current election cycle, campaign signs have once again been reported stolen.  This time, the alleged thief was caught by security video.

Both reported instances to BurbankNBeyond have involved candidates for the Burbank School Board.

Last month, Steve Ferguson announced through Facebook posts that he had several signs stolen one night.  He replaced the signs later that week.

The latest theft occurred Monday night when a business on Magnolia had two campaign signs for Charlene Talbet at approximately 6:50 pm on Monday night.  The theft was reported to BurbankNBeyond through a Twitter post Tuesday that also included a photo.  Later Tuesday night, the business involved also sent a copy of the video of the alleged thief as he collected the two signs and fled.

Unidentified man seen leaving the scene after allegedly taking Charlene Talbot campaign signs

Unidentified man seen leaving the scene after allegedly taking Charlene Talbot campaign signs

Sgt. Darin Ryburn of the Burbank Police Department said that as of this time no one has filed a complaint or a police report of campaign signs being stolen, but the department was interested in the photos and video.

The campaign signs have become a tradition in Burbank during election time with businesses and residents encouraged to display signs on their property.

Click on the link below to watch the short video

sign theft video

UPDATED Feb. 13  – another reader has sent in a video of his campaign signs also being stolen and he claims that he did call the police.

These signs were stolen on Feb 1 and included campaign signs of Zizette Mullins, David Gordon, Bob Frutos and Juan Guillen from his Jolly Drive home.  The homeowner said that Burbank Police were called after the theft.

Here is the video below of the theft.

Signs stolen from residence