Candidate signs disappearing in Polk County

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Someone is stealing political signs in Polk County.

On Wednesday, Florida House hopeful Melanie Bell and a volunteer were out replacing some that went missing.

Bell, who is running on the Republican ticket in District 56, lost at least 20.

“It feels awful,” Bell told FOX 13. “I am wondering, 'Why me? Why am I being targeted?'”

Bell is not the only one who is losing signs. Martha Santiago is running for Polk County Commission. She had five stolen.

“That ’s not how you play the game,” said Bell supporter, Ron Park.

Bartow police investigators say they do not know if the thefts are politically motivated. They have a surveillance video shot from Gator Towing of a man taking one of the signs.

They describe him as portly with long hair. The video also shows a truck leaving the scene with a pile of signs in the back.

They think the truck is a silver, early 1990s Ford F-150 or F-250.

So far, it is going to cost Bell $3,500 to replace the signs, but the cost could go higher.

She has checked Polk County for missing signs, but not Hardee or DeSoto counties, which are included in the district.

But when asked if the stolen signs would slow her campaign, she said, “No, not at all."

If you know anything about the thefts, call the Bartow Police Department.