Will Manatee official be charged with theft over marketing campaign indicators? Here is the most recent.

Commissioner Carol Whitmore might face a misdemeanor cost of petit theft after taking it upon herself to implement Holmes Seaside’s signal ordinance guidelines in opposition to her marketing campaign opponent.

On June 10, the Holmes Seaside Police Division filed a police report when Whitmore confirmed up on the station with three of Jason Bearden’s marketing campaign indicators. In accordance with the report, Whitmore mentioned she believed the indicators have been positioned in violation of Holmes Seaside’s signal ordinance.

Bearden, a candidate who can be working for the at-large District 6 seat on the Manatee County Fee, is hoping to unseat Whitmore within the Republican main election on Aug. 23.

Talking with the Bradenton Herald this week, Holmes Seaside Police Chief William Tokajer mentioned the town has an ordinance in place that solely permits political yard indicators inside 45 days of an election.

Whereas Whitmore was proper concerning the guidelines, it wasn’t her place to take away the indicators, he defined.

Whitmore’s actions prompted Tokajer to ship a press launch urging residents and different candidates to depart the enforcement of the signal ordinance as much as approved metropolis officers.

“In case you take away election indicators from property, you could possibly be charged with theft,” the assertion mentioned. “If you’re not a police officer, code officer or the property proprietor, you aren’t allowed to maneuver or take away election indicators.”

Theft cost sought in opposition to Whitmore

On Wednesday, Bearden moved to press costs in opposition to Whitmore. In a sufferer assertion filed with the police division, he wrote that the indicators have been rightfully positioned and that Whitmore eliminated them with out permission.

“I am very upset that she had stolen my indicators and I want to press costs in opposition to Carol Whitmore for acquiring and stealing my indicators instantly,” Bearden wrote.

Whitmore has not been arrested in reference to the cost. Holmes Seaside police say {that a} capias request, which permits the State Legal professional’s Workplace to overview the case info and decide if a cost might be formally filed, has been processed.

It is unclear when the State Legal professional’s Workplace will make a ultimate resolution on the petit theft cost in opposition to Whitmore. If Whitmore is discovered responsible, Florida regulation says she might resist 60 days in jail and a $500 nice.

Reached for remark Thursday afternoon, Bearden mentioned he hopes Whitmore experiences the “most penalty” for eradicating his yard indicators.

“The one candidate breaking the regulation on this race is profession commissioner Carol Whitmore,” Bearden wrote in a textual content message to the Bradenton Herald. “She’s the one candidate with a police report. Carol is the one candidate who could be charged with a criminal offense and the one candidate who might face jail time.”

Whitmore Denies Wrongdoing

Talking throughout a press convention Wednesday afternoon, Whitmore downplayed the fees and accused Bearden of utilizing the cost to distract from one other afternoon, together with points current claims of election fraud.

“The minute I picked them up, I drove them proper to the police station,” Whitmore mentioned. “Once more, I have been by means of many elections and I knew this wanted to be dealt with by Code Enforcement, which was closed on a Saturday night time, so I took them to the police division and requested them to return them to the rightful proprietor.”

“Would you like a county commissioner who’s going to name the cops on you for jaywalking? Jason Bearden would,” she added.

Bearden, who has campaigned alongside among the write-in candidates within the District 6 race, known as Whitmore’s accusations of election fraud “fictitious and manufactured.”

A few of Whitmore’s fellow commissioners used social media to criticize Whitmore’s actions. In a Fb publish, Commissioner Vanessa Baugh known as on Whitmore to resign.

“Wow, right here we now have it! The identical one who has mentioned ‘Carol would not lie or break the regulation,’” Baugh wrote, sharing a hyperlink to information protection of Whitmore’s signal tampering. “What a low factor to do! Carol you could resign now!”

Commissioner George Kruse, who made headlines Wednesday after being charged with a DUI associated to an alleged drunken crash earlier this 12 months, additionally chimed in on the state of affairs.

“At the least now I do know the place all my indicators went in 2020…,” Kruse posted in a tweet Tuesday night.

Whitmore, who served because the mayor of Holmes Seaside between 1998 and 2006, has been a Manatee County commissioner since 2006. She is searching for re-election to her fifth time period as a countywide consultant.

Whitmore will face Bearden within the Republican main election on Aug. 23.

Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore makes a statement outside the Holmes Beach Police station where she says she turned in campaign signs from a challenger that she believed were illegally placed.

Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore makes a press release exterior the Holmes Seaside Police station the place she says she turned in marketing campaign indicators from a challenger that she believed have been illegally positioned.

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