Police investigate burned political signs in Hempfield | TribLIVE.com

Police investigate burned political signs in Hempfield

Paul Peirce

State police in Greensburg are trying to identify a bold arsonist who set several political signs on fire along Route 30 in Hempfield during rush hour Wednesday.

Troopers responded about 6 p.m. to the south side of Route 30, across from the former site of the Monsour Medical Center, because multiple political signs were set on fire, state police spokesman Stephen Limani said.

“I’d be shocked if somebody didn’t see someone trying to ignite political signs right along Route 30 at that time. I can tell you whoever set the fire will be charged with arson and criminal mischief,” Limani said.

Troopers discovered several charred signs and noticed a door ajar in a nearby building, Limani said.

“The troopers looked inside, but no one was there and then did a cursory search of the area without locating anyone. We’re asking the public to come forward with any information they may have,” Limani said.

He noted that anyone running for office should receive a landowner’s permission before posting a political sign.

County Commissioner Ted Kopas was among the candidates who had signs damaged and said he had received permission from the property owner to erect signs on the property.

“By comparison to some of the other Democrat candidates who had signs damaged, mine was mild in comparison. … I simply had my eyeballs burned out. Some candidates had their signs burned out in their entirety,” Kopas said.

“You expect a certain amount of hijincks and pranks during a campaign season. But this arises to a whole new level. This is a public safety issue to have an arsonist running around burning signs to the ground,” Kopas said. “It’s dangerous.”

In his 21-year career as a trooper, Limani said he’s seen people steal or damage signs.

“But I’ve never seen anyone light a sign on fire,” Limani said.

Anyone with information can call state police at 724-832-3288.

Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-850-2860, [email protected] or via Twitter .

This campaign sign for Westmoreland County Commissioner Ted Kopas was among several along a Route 30 stretch in Hempfield that were damaged Wednesday. Kopas’s eyes appeared burned on both sides of this sign. Anyone with information is asked to call state police at 724-832-3288.
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