Ad Exec Arrested For Removing Illegal Roadside Advertisements

from the please-explain dept

It's no secret that we live in an age of aggressive (and perhaps excessive) advertising. Advertising is absolutely everywhere -- and apparently one ad exec got fed up. He discovered one of those "street side" signs that advertisers stick into the ground alongside roads on his own property. He removed it and then began removing many more. He called up local authorities who told him that it was illegal to place those signs on private property or on public property, but said they didn't have the resources to go around removing them. That seemed like an opportunity, so he began removing them -- sometimes calling the companies advertised in the signs to offer his services as an ad exec to provide more effective, less annoying, advertisements (not surprisingly, none have taken him up on the offer). However, for some reason, he's now been arrested for theft over the signs. It's not clear if the article is leaving out some sort of detail or what, but it's hard to see how removing an illegal advertising sign should be considered theft.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Chris, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 2:51am

    Figures

    Well, I know that a roofing company in my neighborhood decided to place those signs on every freakin street corner till you leave the city (I live about 20 blocks from the edge) and I have been going around pulling them up because they get on my nerves (no to mention what they would do if ernesto hits us) and I have yet to be arrested. I guese I can just sit back and wait for the cops to come and break down the door

     

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    Your Friendly CA Cop, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 3:27am

    A private citizen does not have the right to remove and dispose of those signs since they're not on his private property. Law enforcement does, but his rights stopped once he moved on to the rest of town. So yes, this is theft. If I were at the department I could also sit down and get creative to find a law he may have violated by offering his own services in place of the ads that he stole from property not of his own.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 4:07am

    Re:

    hahaha, typical cop. booohooo somebody stepped on your little power-tripping toes by doing a job you are too busy to do? arrest the bastard! charge him with something ridiculous! yes, that's TOTALLY appropriate! ass.

     

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    R Ahrens, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 4:07am

    if they weren't returned

    If he just threw the signs away and didn't return them to the owning companies, then, yes, he could charged with theft. If he returned them, intact, then, maybe he could be charged with something else, but if he removed them and just disposed of them, that would explain the theft charges.

    A defense against the theft charges would be proof that he returned them to the owners.

     

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    Tom, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 4:13am

    I tend to believe the companies should be charged with littering, at the very least! Same thing goes for the companies that have people put fliers under your windshield wipers at the shopping centers!

     

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    Brian, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 4:37am

    And you never see these companies come back around to pick them up. They usually become a nasty mass of wet paper and cardboard once it rains and is eventually blown away into one of our streams or lakes where a baby seal may choke on it. The companies should be forced to pay that guy for picking them up.

     

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    jaygerwolf, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 4:52am

    Good Samaritan

    Since he did call "up local authorities who told him that it was illegal to place those signs on private property or on public property, but said they didn't have the resources to go around removing them" he took it upon himself to act is that not what a good samaritan does. As a matter of fact if you look up the definitions of good samaritan on the Web you find it is listed as ‘a person who voluntarily offers to help.’ Now all the other stuff about offering his service was not such a good idea, but at least he was taking a pro active approach to the problem of “street spam”.

     

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    HJS, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 4:54am

    He is one of the good guys...

    I hate that crap that gets posted. Same as the adds that get attached to mailboxes all over the place. Most of them end up as litter on the road of my neighborhood. I wish the companies that do this could be charged with littering and fined for each one that they place....

     

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  9.  
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    DGM, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 5:07am

    Why not ...

    Why not gather the signs and return them to rightful owner - via a COD freight shipment -

     

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    Wolfger, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 5:15am

    Re: if they weren't returned

    So by this rationale, if somebody litters (whether it be a sign advertising their company, an empty beer can, or a used tissue) I cannot pick it up and throw it away, or I am a thief? Ridiculous!

     

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    Nathan, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 5:26am

    Re:

    What if he removed the signs and turned them into the police station? Would that still be considered 'theft by taking' even though the property is now in the hands of the police?

     

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  12.  
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    CA Cop, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 5:27am

    Re: Re:

    Good dialogue Mr. Coward, you win the special Gold Star.

    One should look at the positive aspects that this case will entail. It brings to light a problem the City or County officials have ignored and is raising awareness. The community will bring this issue to the front burner and cause official action against the people that are placing these signs in the first place. That's the way the process works. Now, official action may be enacted.

    Mr. Decker will probably end up with the least possible fine, pending Judges discretion, which will most likely be paid by his supporters.

    As to why he was arrested despite his arrangements for surrender. The local PD may have believed it would be in the public interest to bring him in before the rally was held that could have led to an unruly gathering.

     

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  13.  
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    Haywood, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 5:43am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Thank you for reinforcing my opinion of policemen everywhere, sometimes I think I may just be cynical, but no you are all dicks and drama queens.

     

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    Lester Crowe, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 5:50am

    I do not get it

    Those signs can be annoying, however small businesses are fighting an uphill battle to compete in most markets. Guerrilla marketing efforts are sometimes the only answer for highly competitive environments. Legalities aside, can you blame a company for attempting to make money?

    p.s. CA Cop seems to be getting bashed, however he only stated facts.....guess all cops are the same - they know the law. Guess all you flamers are also the same.

     

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    nunya_bidness, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 5:53am

    Who's the Dick

    It's called not taking the law in to your hands. Many civilians have been injured or killed doing similar things. Why do you have to insult people who would give thier life to protect you?

     

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    Haywood, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 6:01am

    Re: Who's the Dick

    See what I mean about drama queen. Get a box of doughnuts and go collect some more speeding taxes.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 6:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And Haywood is just being the sheep that doesn't like the sheepdog.

     

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    nunya_bidness, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 6:07am

    Re: Re: Who's the Dick

    When your gay lover threatens to shoot you for sucking another mans cock, who you gonna call?

     

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  19.  
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    Ro, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 6:07am

    Re: if they weren't returned

    Any sign placed illegally in an area will come under most city ordinances. Generally this means confiscation of the item and destruction after 30 days. Most Cities allow private watch groups to perform these functions. Also there is a fine usually associated with erecting illegal signs in violation of such an ordinance.

     

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  20.  
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    Don, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 6:12am

    Contradictions

    The local authority said that they did not have the resources to remove it themselves. So does it mean that if the local authority removed the ads, the government would have committed theft as well?

     

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  21.  
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    Dave, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 6:26am

    Re: Who's the Dick

    > It's called not taking the law in to your hands

    It's called taking down illegal signs and the donut munching fat cops did manage to find the time to arrest him.

    If he got stabbed no doubt he would be charged with carrying a concealed weapon.

     

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  22.  
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    Stewed, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 6:28am

    Sure, Why not.

    Cops are useless. It is set up that the city/county/state makes money by using the police to police certain things. It is in the best budget interests of the police department to give out tickets and harrass the more law abiding citizens. Going after hard core criminals is expensive and slow and difficult. Going after people who didnt signla while changing a lane when no other car is in sight is easy and creates revenue. This guy will get fined and get off. Not cause they dont want to punnish him, but because that is what keeps local government cash happy. If a cop spent all his time going after hard core criminals and did not write a single ticket for 3 months he would get canned. Cops protect the department and other cops. Just another out of control union thing.

     

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  23.  
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    Marty, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 6:33am

    Those frikin signs

    I am a sign maker and as such I try my hardest to stear my customers away from those things. Unfortunatly they are the cheapest thing any of us can produce for them and that is all the customer can see. They fail to see the value in other forms of advertising, those coroplast signs have virtually none. They are vastly ignored simply by overuse and not many people are going to stop on a street corner to write down the info.
    In my county they are not lawfull to place just anywhere except on your own private property. We have a little witch in her code enforcement truck that will pick them up whenever she sees them (except of course the ones for the politicians). She will take them in and have citations issued for the companies using them and destroy them. It is not legal for just anyone to remove them as that does constitute theft of private property but a county representative has full authority.
    Any way you look at it, those signs suck and I for one hate making them.

     

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  24.  
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    Citizen, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 6:34am

    Re:

    Right. So blindly enforce the laws that are supposed to be for the benefit of society and the *CITIZENS*. This is why people hate cops. Maybe you or one of your brothers in arms can stick your gun in his face over this, too.

     

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  25.  
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    Concerned Citizen, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 6:47am

    Re: Re: Re:

    CA Cop, I think you missed Anonymous Coward's point. When police officers "get creative" with the law they're no longer just law enforcers - they've taken it upon themselves to be legislator and enforcer. Fortunately, there's a third check in the system, judges, who often dismiss cases where the law enforcement officer got creative with the law but it still sets a bad example and unlawfully becomes a hassle for the innocent vicitm. I think this is Anonymous Cowards's point.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 6:55am

    Re: Re:

    Police are in Law enforcement...we are not. The name says it: LAW ENFORCEMENT. Just because something is illegal does not give citizens the right to change it. That's what police are there for. We have no authority when we step outside of our property. If citizens could do a policeman's job, we would all be cops. Leave the policing to the proper authorities. Having said that, I disagree with the ruling. But that gives us no right to assume anything about the cops. Perhaps some details were left out of the story that would justify the arrest. Perhaps not. Either way, put on your big girl panties and deal with it.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 7:02am

    This guy is no "Good Samaritan"

    1. He took down the signs, then offered his services to the advertisers as an "Ad Executive" to show them how to do things right. How would he feel if while off doing his public service (stealing), someone had dropped by his house, robbed it and left a note offering their services to install a burgular alarm?

    2. Regarding outrage at the police had time to arrest him, but not to find the people who illegally posted the signs, well duh, he called the police and more or less announced his intentions to commit a petty theft. Not exactly the cracking of the Lindbergh kidnapping to arrest him.

    3. regarding all the posters who are spewing venom at the police who are DOING THEIR JOBS, please put the following in your windshield: "Dear Police, yopu all suck, and I don't want or need any help from you, so go away."
    Then drive your car at top speed into the nearest bridge abutment or overpass (so you only hurt yourself) and lay there, refusing the protection of the law to the end, and raise the average IQ of the human race a fraction of a percent.

     

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  28.  
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    nunya_bidness, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 7:07am

    Re: Re: Who's the Dick

    Troll

     

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  29.  
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    jinx, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 7:11am

    Re: Those frikin signs

    Ummm... Unless I am missing something, why don't you stop making those signs if they bother you so much. Oh right, it's the American way to preach out against something, yet continue to do it if it helps their bottom line. Maybe its time to stand up even a little bit and do something to help, god forbid you lose some money doing something you believe in.

    If you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

     

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  30.  
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    Sanguine Dream, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 7:15am

    Well if they were illegal

    I'd pressure the local police as to why they weren't taken down. They were too busy to take the signs down but had plenty of time to spare to come out and arrest him right? Now lets just sit back and wait for the companies whose signs he took down to sue him for copyright/trademark/patenet infringement. No it doesn't fall under either one of those but everyone else is suing for that these days so why not?

     

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  31.  
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    r0cksinp0ckets, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 7:20am

    The world is a dangerous place, not because of tho

    Self justified economics of existence...Bureaucracy!!!
    Bureaucrats.. Law & Legal Stupidity... Apathy, Indifference

    VS

    Educated, Appropriate, Socially and Environmentally Responsible action, that positively contributed to society by the improvement of the environment that we as citizens all share.. done with good intention, without the need for monetary compensation...

    Outcome???
    Punishment!

    At least he had the balls to stand up for good!

    bureaucracy:
    government by many bureaus, administrators, and PETTY officials.
    An administrative SYSTEM in WHICH THE NEED for inclination TO FOLLOW rigid or complex procedures IMPEDES EFFECTIVE ACTION.. innovative ideas that get bogged down in red tape and bureaucracy.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 7:22am

    Re:

    If you go and read the full article you'll see that he was offering his advertising services for free. Though it may indeed be theft I wonder how it looks to the public that a citizen was arrested doing what the police department admitted it should have been doing, but just didnt have the assets to complete?

     

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  33.  
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    Monarch, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 7:30am

    Re: Well if they were illegal

    Sanguine Dream, if the signs were attached with some kind of DRM'd electronic tacks, the company may have a way to sue the guy under the DMCA.

    On a 2nd note, I've never met a cop that protected the general public and citizens. I've only met ones that harrass the general public and citizens.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 7:31am

    Re: This guy is no "Good Samaritan"

    If he put that on his windshield, he wouldn't make it ten feet before he got pulled over for something anyway so there is no worry of speeding.

     

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  35.  
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    claire rand, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 7:32am

    Re: Re:

    heard of one guy who did something similar with a wheel clamp.

    aparently if you cut them off they get you for criminal damage, and if you just disapear they get you for theft. so he removed it without damaging it, and turned it in as 'lost property'

    apparently he got away with it.

    i would have thought if this guy pulled up all the signs he could find and turned them in along the lines of 'I found all these in my garden, what do i do with them?' then its up to the ad company to *prove* he pulled them up. it mearly being obvious ain't enough, its 'beyond reasonable doubt'.

    as for the cops enforcing it.. wellll yes its technically their job, and lets face it its an *advert* finding out who its an ad for should not be hard, but frankly I can think of a lot of other stuff I'd rather the cops were actually doing.

     

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  36.  
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    Eric B, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 7:32am

    Charge the Ad Companies

    The ad companies should be charged with tresspassing and litering. Then take some of that money and stop handing out so many tickets to the drivers.

     

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  37.  
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    KF, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re: This guy is no "Good Samaritan"

    I meant to say, in refence to:

    Dear Police, you all suck, and I don't want or need any help from you, so go away.

    If he put that on his windshield, he wouldn't make it ten feet before he got pulled over for something anyway so there is no worry of speeding. The cops would find a good reason, perhaps a broken tail light?

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 7:42am

    I agree that he should not have taken it upon himself to remove signs that were not on his personal property, unless of course he had the consent of the owners of the respective properties (preferably in writing, which will hold up in court). However, I do understand and respect the motive. Advertising companies don't seem to understand the concept of self-retraint these days and they seem to get away with just about anything anymore.

    As for the police, lack of resources? Please. To take down all the illegal signs, yes, there are not enough resources. BUT, that would be foolish because they're not attacking the source of the problem. Companies that put up signs like that should be slapped with a court order to cease and desist and remove all illegal signs, lest they become the subject of a lawsuit with a strong case against them. There are way to deal with people who abuse the system. These companies need to learn that they have to follow the rules just like anybody else.

    Now, just for the record, does that mean all types of advertising are illegal? Of course not. Once in a while I get something slid under my apartment door or hung on the door handle. Yes, it's annoying, but illegal, no, not as long as they don't enter my rented property without my permission and they don't use my property to advertise to others. Using one's private property to advertise to people other than the property owners is not only illegal, but also a very bad example of business ethics, or simply lack thereof.

    So I say, go ahead, give the guy a slap on the wrist for his slipup, but don't treat the guy like a convicted felon just because he tried to stand up for us little guys in the battle against extremely excessive advertising. Advertising is meant to make your product or service known to people. It was never meant to cram junk down your throat that nobody ever wants or needs, which is exactly what things like spam do.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 7:51am

    This guy should be awarded for picking up litter

    When these signs were placed illegally, they should immediately be treated as litter. The person posting these signs should be charged with trespass, and littering. There should be no way to charge a man for simply picking up the litter left by others.

    Just my 2cents…

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 7:52am

    ahh...i feel i must put in my 2 digital pennies..

    yes, cops are law enforcers, not protectors. 9 times out of ten they are there to catch those who break the law, not prevent them from breaking the law. the public believes that cops are protectors instead of enforcers, and yes i've made that same mistake on numerous occasions.

    second, cops must make good use of their time. as with any job, ceretain tasks need to be completed, and others can be pushed aside until the next day. so, sure cops may not go after all murder suspects and instead focus on traffic violators. but think about it. who causes more harm to a community, one murderer, or hundereds of drivers? sure the family and friends of the murder victim have their pain, but every day there accidents caused by people running stop signs, going through red lights, speeding and driving drunk. immagine if no one ever got a ticket for any driving infractions. could you imagine how dangerous the streets would become? I'd be scared to live in a house next an intersection.

    now, i'm not saying that the cops should just lurk behinde everey dark alley looking for the one guy at 3 in the morning coasting through a stop sign, but they are probably checking to see if he's drunk, and hopefully keep him from hurting anyone else. (ok, so that's a situation where the cops are in the protection business, but they arrested him AFTER he was driving drunk, not before he started...remember minority report and precrime?)

    anyway, it sucks that someone trying to do good was arrested, but he broke the law. if he "pays" for his crime is another story. there are cases where people who "restrained" suspects for police where charged with either kidnapping or unlawful imprisonment, while others were given awards for their bravery and assistance to the force. I just wish that we had enough public servants so the public wouldn't have to do these things.

     

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  41.  
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    Wizard Prang, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 7:52am

    Guerilla marketing? Hardly.

    If the signs were on public property, you might have a leg to stand on... but putting up signage on private property is a form of trespassing, at best, and theft at worst.

    It's sad when Good Citizens have to do Law Enforcement's job for them because LE does not have the resources. Perhaps that's the way it should be.

    I guess the question is this: What kind of a world do we want to live in?

     

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  42.  
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    Wizard Prang, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 7:59am

    Questions, questions...

    If someone places, a sign on your property without your permission, can they still assert ownership? If not, against whom was the theft committed?

    How many of the landowners had a problem with him removing signs from their property? Did any one actually protest?

    If he had asked for and received permission from them before removing signs would that make a difference? Hmmm... now there's an idea...

    Finally... I wonder who actually pressed charges and what damage was done.

    Sheesh.... we are fast heading for a world where you need permission and legal disclaimers before helping a stranded motorist change a tire.

     

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  43.  
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    nanyabidness, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 8:03am

    Re: if they weren't returned

    Once that sign is placed on public land its no longer someones property, its garbage.
    And if you put one on *my* land it becomes *my* sign.

     

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  44.  
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    Tom, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 8:04am

    Re: Re: To the Police Department

    Pick up the signs, take them to the police department and submit them as lost property to the lost and found department. The police are certainly not going to put them back, he didn't "steal" them because they were turned in to the police and not "kept".

     

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    Possession is 9/10ths of the law, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 8:12am

    Duh

    Once the companies place their signs in the groud on any piece of property not owned, or under some sort of contract contol, by them the signs are ABANDONED.

    Another case of dumbasses giveing away more liberties to the law because of their inabilty to act rationaly. Sadly this aplies to both parties.

     

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  46.  
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    Charlie, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 8:22am

    street spam

    And just think election time is just around the corner.
    Talk about "Street Spam"

     

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  47.  
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    Lay Person, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 8:27am

    Re:

    #39

    O.K. so cops are only enforcers sort of like Storm Troopers. Once a law is broken they come in with phazers blazing. That's the image I have of an enforcer.

    If this is so, then why do all cop cars have written on tboth sides, in big, bold, letters "To Protect and Serve"????

    Perhaps soemthing has changed? Maybe the motto is "To Enforce" and they have yet to change the lettering?

     

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  48.  
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    Lay Person, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 8:28am

    Better yet...

    How about "Obstruct and Swerve?"

     

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  49.  
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    Tree Cop, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 8:30am

    Every once in a while

    Every once in a while, one of these topics takes on a mind of its own and runs off on some interesting tangents. Usually, it is someone’s personal agenda to bash another persons agenda; however, with this topic is has gone to COP bashing, and a slew of illogical and illiterate stereotyping of an out of date image of COPS. Jesus you mind numb, meth. heads, get with the times and realize that if your going to use stereotypical slurs, at least use more modern versions, which reflect a progression of time and technology. Notice that I don’t refer to anyone in an old time worn, and most out of date, fashion as ‘pot heads’, ‘reefer head’, ‘dope smoker’, ‘gonja sucker’ or any of an entire line up of stand-by references used in the past, for any group of inarticulate, illiterate, anti-government type who blame his/her problems on an enforcement element of the society they live within, instead of blaming their own lack or short comings and trying to take personal actions to improve themselves so as to no longer have such feelings of inadequacy.

    Don’t accuse police of “eating doughnuts” and “sticking guns in peoples faces”, those are antiquities and out of fashion now days. Now it is more accurate to accuse us of wanting to “taser you tell your eyes light up” or “only eating where COP discounts are offered”, which while not as quick ‘witted’ or easy to pull off in a jestful moment, they do reflect a more realistic image now days. Doughnuts? Please, when was the last time a doughnut shop offered a COP a discount for anything but the coffee, get real. Subway, Quizno’s, Slotzskis now there are some places you’ll find a few patrol cars in this town. Oh, but that is boring right?

    As for the original topic however, I only saw one person mention the reality of the situation, and personally I would have arrested the man as well, as by law I would have had no chance. Mind you, what is not mentioned is how he was arrested….. Most likely and what I have seen before. The offending company filed a complaint about their signs being missing, the first response of police was “they were illegal signs by city ordinance, so he was just picking up trash.” At which time a smart small business man will concede and go over to the code enforcement office of the city, usually located close to the city tax/treasure office, pay the fine for each offending sign. Then walk back to the Police station and show they have paid restitution for the violation of City code, at which time they have an official document showing the signs to be their private property and not trash. And then they file a complaint of theft of private property, relating the phone call they received by the now accused subject. Police have to follow up on such complaint and call the subject in, who is told a complaint has been made against him relating to the signs, when he opens his mouth to say “yea I removed them” he is told to remain silent, the cop rolls his eyes and explains his Miranda rights to him, then tells him to get a lawyer and let the judge handle it, because it is a stupid use of the system, but there is nothing that can be done to help him by the police. And at that point in time, he has been arrested and charges have been filed, he hasn’t been charged tell the D.A. takes up the filed charges.

    The city is happy because it got its fine money; the illegal advertiser gets to stick a finger in the eye of the guy who got pissed by the signs. And the COPS go to lunch and tell local state trooper “I wish I had your job” which of course they wouldn’t want, but don’t even know it, because that relates even more irrational and illiterately applied use of law and codes.

     

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  50.  
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    Taylor, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 8:33am

    Good Deed

    No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

     

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  51.  
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    ebrke, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 8:58am

    Re: I do not get it

    Why should we put "legalities aside"? Are you saying that anything goes as long as a company is trying to make money? Glad I don't live in your town.

     

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  52.  
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    techdirt lurker, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 9:02am

    Re: Re: Re: This guy is no "Good Samaritan"

    ---The cops would find a good reason, perhaps a broken tail light?--

    Taillight, arm, leg, nose...something would be broken. At least by the time he was booked.

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 9:03am

    Reply to #46

    yes, they say "To serve and to protect" but there is no reference to whom they are to serve and protect. no tsatp John Q. Public, or TSATP "citizen's name here", or anything.

    it can be argued that tye are protecting the laws of the land. by arresting the viloators, they "prove" the laws exist. otherwise, it'd be just a waste of paper for all the laws.

    they are serving the constitution/laws as well. until a law is broken, they don't have a job. it sucks, but hey, i don't want to be arrested for a crime i didn't commit. but there are laws against planning to commit crimes, and then by default you are arrested for the attempted crime, but not the actual crime. so once again, they are arresting people AFTER laws are broken.

    and like i mentioned, without some qualifier as to who the slogan refers to, it's an abstract saying.

    having a few friends as cops, they all said that their partner/trainers said....the real duty of a cop isn't to enforce the laws, arrest people, chase mudrers and whatnot....it's more simply to "solve problems"

    so.....that's my rantings

     

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  54.  
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    Motopsycho, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 9:07am

    and this is the main reason I don't do much in the way of good deeds anymore.

    It's much easier to avoid a lawsuit by not helping people. It seems to be what society wants anyway.

    It's cynical, but true. When you see someone who needs help, in the cities at least - if you make a mistake or something while trying to help, you'll either end up with a lawsuit or dead. Hell with that, I'll let you call the cops for help. That's what they're supposed to be for, right?

     

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  55.  
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    Tree Cop, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 9:10am

    Reply to Motopsycho

    #53: And we have such wonderful lawyers to thank for that. Now if some reality check bashing was wanting to happen upon boards like this, lawyers are the key to more of the problems than cops will ever be.

     

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  56.  
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    CA Cop, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 9:15am

    I'm Gay. I like humping my cop buddies... I sometimes call them my cock buddie. Then I give 'em Bavarian Cream jobs. Also I like long walks on the beach, sunsets, and naked children.

     

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  57.  
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    chucklebutte, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 9:18am

    Re:

    asshole cop!

    "I could also sit down and get creative to find a law he may have violated by offering his own services in place of the ads that he stole from property not of his own"

    how bout i get creative and eat your children?? that sound fun i hope your family gets cancer and they all die first and u die last and slow and painful you god damn son of a bitch

    all cops need to be shot and killed they are a waste of tax payers money they make citizens feel like criminals and just the blantent arrogance from this prick leave people alone id remove bullshit signs too lets go fill up your yard and nieghborhood with shit mr cop see how u like it eh? oh yeah you wouldnt would ya? how bout i pull u over and harrass u eh? put you in some handcuffs arrest u? u lame piece of shit

     

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  58.  
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    Tree Cop, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 9:22am

    #55 & 56

    *golf clap*

    Have we met? Or perhaps you met one of my Brothers, or will.

    *chuckling*

     

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  59.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 9:24am

    Speaking of CA, my father did the same thing and went about removing and disposing of illegaly placed signs. He even contacted the city attorney to check if this action was permissible, which it was. However he is the mayor, and therefor an agent of the city, so not sure if this gives him certian privelages over the ordinary citizen. Regardless the point still stand that the actions of the companies are illegal. The only problem is that these companies know they almost never see any legal ramifications for their actions, as the cost of going to court outweighs the convience of doing so. Anyway just my 2c if you see these signs, or get a flyer or whatever, call up the company get the name of the owner, and if they're stupid enoug they've listed themselves in the phone book. Go to their private residence and flood their yard with an equaly aggitating amass of crap. Or just toilet paper, because it's still vandilisim no matter how astheticly appleaing your POS sign might be.

     

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  60.  
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    jsnbase, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 9:32am

    Citizens *can't* enforce law?

    "Just because something is illegal does not give citizens the right to change it. That's what police are there for. We have no authority when we step outside of our property. If citizens could do a policeman's job, we would all be cops."

    This is the sort of thing I see too much of on internet forums. You may be right, but perhaps you could post some sort of legal basis for your claim? If it's just your personal philosophy, then you're probably wrong.

     

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  61.  
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    Retired Va Cop, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 9:36am

    Re: Re: Well if they were illegal

    1st Note - Monarch, if you keep meeting cops that put you at the buisness end of thier pen, you must be doing something wrong all the time.

    2nd Note - Police only enforce the laws...don't like it? Well, get involved in getting the law changed, vote, talk to your city council, state reps, Congressman, etc...don't come to Techdirt and bitch. Cuz then you are just a spineless pussy* with out a voice.


    * - Technical Police term there, FYI

     

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  62.  
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    chris (profile), Aug 28th, 2006 @ 9:48am

    dude should contact CAUSS

    Citizens Against Ugly Street Spam
    http://causs.org

     

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  63.  
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    Lay Person, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 9:49am

    Re: Every once in a while

    #48

    O.K. people. See the arrogance of this guy? I don't know if he's a real cop but he sure defends them as one.

    Later on he calls a coworker "brother" as though he belongs to an exclusive family, an organization, insiders and outsiders. He's inside, we're on the outside.

    His own use of language creates a division between us and them. Then they wonder why their jobs are so tough and that they get no respect.

    The police force needs to higher people with diplomatic skills. I think their screening system is poor. How else do these Yosemite Sams get to be cops? Cops work for society and not for the government. Sure they want us to believe that they are the government by hiding behind clauses, forms, and procedures. In reality, they are elected by citizens to protect citizens. Somehow this is all lost in procedure. Since the cops can't realize anything beyond procedure, they lose the fact as to who are their real employers.

    Anyway, if this guy is a cop, he's a poor example of one.

     

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  64.  
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    DittoBox, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 9:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Who's the Dick

    Ghostbusters?

     

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  65.  
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    JT, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 9:58am

    Making the system work!

    So, thats how it is? OK, I put my crap on your lawn. You call the cops about it. You remove 'my' crap. I then have you charged and sue you over the missing crap. This is beautiful! My crapyour lawn = my new profit center.

     

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  66.  
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    nunya_bidnes, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 9:58am

    Re: Re: if they weren't returned

    Sounds wrong to me. Even if I park my car illegally, it is still my car. And I am responsible for it. You can remove it but it is not yours.

     

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  67.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 10:03am

    I was once arrested by a police officer for removing a sheriff re-election sign posted on my own private property. Apparently removing litter from your own property is illegal.

    This has become such a problem especially for convenience stores and gas stations who are prohibited by law from removing signs off their properties on major street corners. If someone "litters" on their property they are required to contact the local governing authority, register a complaint, wait 2 to 4 weeks for someone to show up and remove the signs. If you do it yourself then you could be looking at 6 months in jail and a $2500 fine.

     

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  68.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 10:03am

    It could be a series of signs or a series of bottles and cans. If there is something along the roadside and it does not have a right to be there, it's basically just roadside debris.

     

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  69.  
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    Matt Ridings, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 10:18am

    Had to be via a complaint

    As far as I can tell the only way he would have been charged with anything would be if one of the other property owners filed a complaint against him, not the company who put the signs there.

    Likely one of the property owners had a relationship with the company, or simply didn't like the fact that someone came and took something out of their own yard without their permission.

    All of this hatred towards the police on this issue is a bit rediculous when you consider the above.

     

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  70.  
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    Luci, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 10:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Actually you have missed the point. What Mr Decker did is, in point of fact, illegal, since the signs were not on his property, or the public right of way attatched to his property. The police were not acting as legislator, though enforcer is entirely their job. They are there to enforce the law, which is precisely what they did. If the company placing the signs called and said someone was taking them, then that is theft, even if they are being illegally placed. You do not have to give identifying information when you call in a crime, either, so this could have been done anonymously, like our Cowards.

    The point of this thread is, in fact, that Haywood is one of those people who believes that all cops are just out to get HIM, probably because of some defiiciency or because he actually believes that he should always be in the right no matter what he does, which makes him a pointless little troll who should go bash somewhere else.

    Lucille Fox
    NOT Law Enforcement, just Disaster Relief and Emergency Services

     

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  71.  
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    Daruku, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 10:23am

    Citizens Arrest.

    Can't we use something like Citezens arrest?

     

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  72.  
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    Luci, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 10:26am

    Re: Re:

    How about you put that on your bumper, sometime? Let the world know what you think about cops? You'd find rather quickly that you do, in fact need them. Not everyone has the inclination or resources to own a gun, and sometimes it's just better to have those pretty blue uniforms on the street as deterrance. What did you do that made them pull you over, harrass and arrest you? Oh, wait, you didn't do anything did you? Because even if you did, you wouldn't be man enough to admit to it, so it's all the fault of the police.

    Stop trolling, people.

     

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  73.  
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    Wizard Prang, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 10:27am

    Selective enforcement

    Interesting that LE did not "have the resources" to remove signs that were placed on private property - i.e., illegally - in the first place.

    Seems to me that LE are being selective about what their function and are prosecuting the lesser of two evils.

     

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  74.  
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    Tree Cop, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 10:35am

    Lay Person

    #63

    Thank you for the well spoken retort and comments. While I don't agree with you, I won't disagree with you entirely either. It is the bases of my job and my nature to listen to both sides of matters, yet to do so it does help when matters are presented in an articulate manner.

    You say I don't work for government, I work for the society. Well in this country, the government is supposed to represent society, thus why we have elected officials and laws are put in place through elective selection. Thus I work for the government. The society upon which that government has bases is responsible for taking action to have laws placed in the books upon which they then expect me to enforce and monitor. I don't agree with all laws upon those books, yet that isn't my part of the process to decide upon which I will and won't enforce.

    As for the Brotherhood I mention, you are correct, it is a selective mentality shared by those within Law Enforcement, just as it was when I was active duty as a volunteer for my nations military. I was then and am now, part of a group of like minded people who give up some of our rights and privilege in order to give something to the community to which we serve. If that doesn’t create a brotherhood mindset, then I don’t know much more that will. While it is easy to point at such a mindset and say it is separating and creating an “us and them” syndrome, I don’t believe it divides us from the society around us, but it does by nature have aspects I would not expect the average citizen to have to accept or involve themselves in. Most should not have to hold a dead child’s body for a long slow boat ride back to the shoreline, where the family is only hoping she is alive, or make that call at 2am that ‘there has been an accident’. That is my job and the job of others like me, if you would like it, then apply and after a year try to say you aren’t part of a brotherhood.

    While I work for the government ultimately. I am evaluated everyday by the citizens around me; it is the responsibility of such citizens to grade me upon my job performance by speaking up if they find need. All to often however, such never happens, as people don’t realize the power of their word in matters of evaluating public servants (police, fire, ems, sanitation, animal control, code enforcement, district attorney, judges, mayors, city council members and many others) in that speaking out against wrong doings, or even speaking up about good deeds, is a very powerful tool. I personally have only once had a serious accusation levied against me, but when you try to run me over with a car I do have a tendency to become “reactionary” and throw things through your windshield if they are in my hand.

    And finally, to respond to your first sentence. YES I am an arrogant S.O.B., but I assure you, that has nothing to do with my job. It is simply my nature, and when I’m working with the citizens in my community, such often times has to be laid aside, as does ego and sometimes even aspects of pride and pleasure, such is the nature of being able to deal with a variety of the community, instead of one specific dynamic.

    Again, thank you for the articulate response, at least we share that view of how to deal with other people.

    Good day.

     

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  75.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 10:38am

    to #73

    well, if i called the cops and said someoen stole my signs, what are they going to do? they aren't going to sent out a CSU to every site i had signs posted hoping for evidence. their resources are better suited in other areas such as rapes/murders GTA, kidnappings...things of that sort

    however, when someone calles the police force, and states they broke the law, they are required to arrest them. the only wasted time would be if a cop went to pick the guy up. if he was on patrol...hey, part of the job.

    still the distinction between the illegal activities here is quite amazing.

     

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  76.  
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    Tree Cop, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 10:42am

    Re: Selective enforcement

    Placement of them would require a complaint by the land/property owner against the placer for trespass. No complaint = No violation

    The signs would have to be a violation of a city ordinance to be themselves a violation, but then that would be a violation of an ordinance, which while enforcable by officers, most cities have 'Code Enforcment' to do such tasks, so no LE actions would be required, or even expected as it would not be part of their job to enforce that, otherwise why have a code enforcement office?

     

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  77.  
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    doubledoh, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 11:01am

    I don't know the details of the story either, but given the summary:

    1. The cops stepped outside of their bounds when they arrested someone for removing litter for free from other people's properties UNLESS the property owners themselves called the cops to report tresspassing.

    2. There was no theft. The advertiser gave away rights to the advertisements when he littered people's properties with them.

    3. Cops need to spend their time catching murderers, rapists, and politicians. This is yet another example of a misallocation of taxpayers' money.

     

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  78.  
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    another coward, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 11:13am

    CA cop is wrong

    Citizens have more legal right to enforce laws than a police officer does. A citizen only needs to have reasonable suspicion that a crime is taking place to take action while a cop needs probable cause. He should have learned this in law class. As a 'former' officer...a citizen arrest is a useful thing to keep a suspect while a case is built to try the suspect. In this case he had reasonable suspicion that the signs were illegal....I cannot possibly see this guy getting even a fine for taking it upon himself to correct the matter.

     

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  79.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 11:17am

    Re: to #73

    I'm not buying into the whole "their resources are better suited in other areas" argument. Most police forces already have resources in those areas in the form of detectives, accident specialists, and so on. Either cops enforce all laws, or we eliminate the laws that we think the cops should not enforce or don't have the supposed resource to enforce. Recall that New York cleaned up a number of areas of the city because they told officers to go after petty crimes.

     

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  80.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 11:36am

    to #79

    laws are eliminated if we think cops should not enforce them?

    how about this....in PA, if you are driving a car, and come across a horse and carrage, you must completely pull your car off the lane and let the hosre pass. if the horse gets spooked, you must disassemble your car and hide it behinde the nearest shrub.

    i don't think that law has been enforced in quite some time, yet it's still on the books.

    what about those other laws saying you can't walk donw the street with an icecream cone in your left hand on sundays, or other "stupid" laws. they aren't enforced, yet they are still "laws" i thought you said those laws are eliminated.

    since they have been on the books for years, an no ATTEMPT to eliminat them, your argument is quite flawed

     

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  81.  
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    Concerned Citizen, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 12:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No, Lucille, in fact, you completely missed the point. My comment clearly related to CA Cop's statement of "get creative to find a law he may have violated by offering his own services in place of the ads" NOT the ad exec getting arrested in the first place. Although now that I think about it some more I guess CA Cop is really taking the role of judge, since his "getting creative" really amounts to law interpretation, which is what judges do. So he's still overstepping his bounds and doing more than simple law enforcement - and that's just not right and is possibly a major reason people sometimes have problems with cop behavior.

     

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  82.  
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    Joshua, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 1:23pm

    Cops losing rights and privledges...

    Someone mentioned that as a cop they have to give up some rights so that they can protect and serve. This is just not true. At least not directly. Cops do indeed voluntarily give up certain rights, but they do so to gain a different set of rights.

    For instance, I don't have the right to arrest someone if they don't let me into their house (even if later it is found to be an illegal search, at the time, the person is hindering the police in the execution of their 'duty'). I don't even have the right to stop an assault on my person if the officer says he is arresting me. Police lose some rights but they gain the right to be above normal citizens where the law is concerned. If you become a police officer you lose rights and gain power. It's a fair trade. Stop treating it like some burden you carry.

    I also dislike the myth that the police enforce the laws of the land. They don't. It is not possible for them to know all of the law (not even just the criminal code). That's why people who's job it is to actually *know* the law (like lawyers and judges) still need to keep stacks of books containing laws and interpretations of them.

    The fact that there are laws that are on the books that are never enforced just goes to prove that police officers do not 'enforce the law regardless of whether it is bad or not' (note: that is not a direct quote). They enforce the ones that they feel like enforcing that day. They didn't feel like taking the signs down and fining the people who put them up, but did feel like arresting the guy who did their job for them. My guess is that they didn't pick up the signs because it would be tedious and time consuming, but they arrested the guy who removed them because it's just one guy (and not many many signs) and he made them look bad.

     

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  83.  
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    Haywood, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 1:39pm

    I actually have little contact with cops, I also have little contact with snakes. I attribute that to God knowing and honoring my prefrences. They are tax collectors who do some emergency service, but protect and serve is a joke.

    I do own a gun, I don't expect to be protected or served.
    I have tried with them, but they seem to have a problem with enforcing when it would be to my benefit. I had my car a victim of hit and run in a grocery store parking lot, and had a license number, they located the driver but failed to enforce.
    A good friend had his car hit and run by an out of control street racer in his own carport, again he had information to lead them to the suspect. He was informed that since it happened on private property he was on his own.
    I have other instances but most will get the point; They are useless except at lining the pockets of the government body that employs them

     

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  84.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Re: Who's the Dick

    Wow, another script-kiddie elitist with nothing to contribute. Is there a mother-ship somewhere that clones these kind of unintelligent people or what?

     

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  85.  
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    A Non-e-mouse, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 3:41pm

    Re:

    "A private citizen does not have the right to remove and dispose of those signs since they're not on his private property."

    BS. It's not legal property, it's littering. I see people all the time going in groups to remove litter. This is the same as dropping trash on the street corner. If someone left a stereo laying on the corner (as in never planned to return and claim it), it's not theft for someone to either take or throw it away.

    Why? Because it's no longer private property. You can't steal what nobody no longer owns. Now, it IS illegal to remove signs from someone else's property, because its on their property. But if it is out in public, and obviously not owned by the city, well... tough luck. And also, many organizations are sponsors of the roadway, who are responsible for picking it up. They also certainly have the right to remove anything long that road.

    Don't start telling me now that we need a right to pick up litter now. Anal retentive city councils and lawyers need to get the advertising picket stick out of their butts. First, a city council acts and shuts down that kid for an illegal sign, and everyone goes nuts about overstepping their bounds, then some private citizen tries to curb the problem, and everyone goes nuts again.

    I'd like to go to the houses of those who have raised big stinks over these two, and 1" outside their property, put thousands of signs of every size up.

    Don't touch them, you'll be a thief!

     

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  86.  
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    annonymous coward, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 4:11pm

    Re: Lay Person

    you are a shut in. Nobody else has that kind of time on their hands.

     

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  87.  
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    CLF, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 5:56pm

    Re: Friendly Cop

    Wow. You certainly well serve the folks who pay you well.. thinking of creative ways of punishing those insideous sign bandits: outlaws boldly removing illegal eyesores, littering our lives in their sacred task of promoting hoaxes and swindles. Serve and protect. Keep up that thin blue line. While other officers waste their time hunting muggers and meth labs, you maintain your priorities. Serve and protect. Wow.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  88.  
    identicon
    r0cksinp0ckets, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 6:31pm

    How many of you voted.... for this law? for this?

    A man is punished for removing illegally placed advertising??? SAD!

    First he Improves the environment we all share..
    Then he offers his services as an altertenative to recurrence. - Proactive Prevention.

    His intent...His actions.. are for the betterment of our environment.. positive contribution to society without immediate monetary reward

    The placement of the sign is illegal. Pay a fee.. then it becomes illegal to remove the sign.. Police then nab the guy so "the government" can collect more money..

    It's ALL ABOUT THE MONEY!!!

    Too many of us look upon Americans as dollar chasers. This is a cruel libel, even if it is reiterated thoughtlessly by the Americans themselves.
    Albert Einstein

    The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing. Albert Einstein

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  89.  
    identicon
    Lay Person, Aug 29th, 2006 @ 7:28am

    Re: Lay Person

    O.K. TreeCop, good response.

    You're off the hook. The charges have been dropped.

    You're free to go.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  90.  
    identicon
    Proliferator, Oct 12th, 2006 @ 12:47pm

    You can bitch, wine & squeal all you want about the street sign, but it will never be abandoned because it is the greatest form of advertising ever created! It's cheap, portable & highly visible. Be sure to check out the great debate at causs.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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