"Got stopped by the police last night - they wanted to charge me with theft" Sat Jul-28-12 07:21 AM by BanditSignBandit
I've been picking up the bandit signs in my area for about a month now. I have only been removing the ones that were spammed along many corners and state highways. I was pulled over in 2 few towns previously, and I explained what I was doing. One cop in Voorhees NJ, thanked me for cleaning up. However, last night the police in Medford, NJ said that if I did not replace the signs belonging to the Orleans homebuilders, they would charge me with theft.
So, I had to go back and replace the signs on the side of the road. They were only a few feet off of state highway route 70, and did NOT meet township code, and were in violation of the state DOT, as on their ROW.
What can I do now? The police said that the signs were considered "owned", despite being illegal, and taking them was stealing. They have not enforced the township code to prosecute the people putting them up and abandoning them frequently long after events are over, but are enforcing the removal.
The town is Medford, NJ. I would appreciate if people would voice their opinion on this and e-mail or call the town government, and perhaps the local newspaper which is published once a week - The Central Record. They are facing a massive debt from the previous administration, and had to eliminate many basic services, as well as lay off the same people that should be removing these. The mayor has asked people to volunteer and do what they can, so thats what I did.
Another local newspaper is the Burlington County Times which has printed a few articles about the guy who was taking them down in Philadelphia, as well as canging them. I will be sending both newspapers letters after I consult an attorney on Monday, and considering filing charges against the spammers. If they are going to do this, everyone should know about it.
#2. "RE: Got stopped by the police last night - they wanted to charge me with theft" In response to Reply # 0
I found this in the Medford, NJ Land Development Ordinance. This language is similar to the "code" found in many areas of the US.
Section 526; paragraph c.1.e.: "No sign shall be placed in such a position that it causes or is likely to cause danger to vehicular or pedestrian traffic on any street, sidewalk or right-of-way. No sign other than an official sign may be placed within the right-of-way of any Township or County street"
Like Tomato Stake suggests, look for the details in your Code for when a sign is considered abandoned. Tampa, FL code even goes so far as to describe snipe signs as litter. I'd also find out who in your local government is responsible for removing illegal signs. They might indeed support your efforts.
We have a group of about 20 volunteers in Hillsborough County who are approved by County Code Enforcement. We removed over 50,000 signs in 2011.
Best of luck...and thanks for trying to make your area look better.
#3. "RE: Got stopped by the police last night - they wanted to charge me with theft" In response to Reply # 0 Mon Jul-30-12 06:12 AM by DenverShark
There was a Colorado Supreme Court case 10 years ago that ruled that someone could remove religious junk placed on state right of way. Someone had placed a bunch of superstitious religious stuff like crosses on a highway right of way. A guy removed it and the police arrested him. The Supreme Court said that it was litter and not a "venerated object" and that it could be removed.
All cities in the Metro Denver area have code that disallows unpermitted signs. Yet the Colorado Springs city council got taken over by growth mongers and real estate developers. They allow signs "just on the weekend" (wink, wink, nod, nod).
While the homebuilder signs are just as illegal in most cities as "we buy houses" scam signs, they are unofficially considered as venerated objects by some officers and growth mongering city officials. Use good judgement when dealing with this litter.
I have spoken with code enforcement officers who have gone out of their way to deal with illegal signs. Others seemed less concerned.
I have had police officers stop and help me remove illegal signs. Others said not to do so.
Police are responsible for enforcing the law, not interpreting it. They may think you are outside the law when in fact you are not. Thus, you may end up in court, which is responsible for interpreting the law.
#4. "RE: Got stopped by the police last night - they wanted to charge me with theft" In response to Reply # 0
>The mayor has asked people to volunteer and do what they can, so thats what I did.
If the Mayor asked people to volunteer then he shouldn’t have a problem providing you with documentation indicating you have the city’s approval to remove spam. Call the Mayor and see what he is willing to do to support you......... Good luck and thanks for your contribution.
#5. "RE: Got stopped by the police last night - they wanted to charge me with theft" In response to Reply # 0
From the FAQ section
Q: What About Real Estate and Home Builder Signs?
A: CAUSS does not support the removal of For Sale, Open House and Homebuilder signs. The signs may be allowed due to variances in local ordinances. Should these signs be allowed, they are likely to have certain limits imposed on their placement. These rules are complex and often involve complex politics. You should report these signs to your local code enforcement office if you have any questions on their legality.
#8. "RE: Got stopped by the police last night - they wanted to charge me with theft" In response to Reply # 7
As a matter of fact, I started this whole jouney removing the tons of builders Weekend Directional Signs (WEDS) that were spread all over the sides of the roads and at every intersection to advertise these housing developments. It was a mess. Only then, along came the we buy (your home, cars) and Pain Management Clinic scams...
Builders' Real Estate Directional signs are still my #1 target for removal. Open House signs left up all week are as well.
Oh, there's a hint of cool in the air, and Winter is coming! I've got to gather more firewood... And Sign stakes make great fire starters!
#9. "RE: Got stopped by the police last night - they wanted to charge me with theft" In response to Reply # 8 Mon Aug-06-12 11:33 AM by pops
Good topics, to remove or not remove?
I like the idea of getting the police on your side first. Is their a way to contact the departmnent with the info you got on cleanning up the streets, from the mayor or Code? Somtimes it works to educated the Police first, but asking them in a way as not to tell them you are going to do this and that thats.
Second if you can't win playing by the rules, and you know your in the right to remove, start a campaign with the local news agencies, and use this web site as a reference.
Last, I would put in the ground, my sign, in front of theirs, stating its illegal to remove my illegal sign. Keep your hands off. Put a real estate companys name on the bottom. Hey two can play this game.