Police File Criminal Complaint For Theft Of Political Signs

Wright Township Police Patrolman Kristen Paulshock filed a criminal complaint against Stanley Joseph Zukos for Theft by Unlawful Taking-Movable Property and Receiving Stolen Property on July 9, 2013.

According to the police complaint Zukos on or about Election Day May 21, 2013 removed 17 political signs valued at $119 from the area of Timberwood Drive at South Main Road.

On May 21, 2013 at 10:20 p. m. Randy Swank told police that he had received several calls from people stating that the defendant Stanley Zukos, Jr. was driving around in a Blasi Printing van and removing his political signs. Swank provided information on Rose Sturgeon as a witness.

On May 22, 2013 at approximately 10:10 a. m. Ptlm. Paulshock received a call from Zukos, who stated that on May 21, 2013 after the election was over, he picked up some campaign signs on the side of the road. Zukos said that last year after the election, Wright Township Road Foreman, Matt Howton, allowed him to take signs that the township had picked up. Paulshock advised Zukos that the signs were not his property, but the property of the political candidates. Zukos repeated that the signs were on public property. Paulshock told Zukos that he could not remove them from these locations. He was also advised that he could not remove them without the permission of the political candidates, and was advised that he could be arrested for theft. Zukos admitted that some of the signs were in his garage. He was advised to bring them to the Wright Township Police Department immediately.

Zukos came to the Wright Township Police Department at 10:45 a. m. with eight political signs. He was advised that he could not take these signs and he became argumentative saying they were on public property. Paulshock told Zukos that political candidates have a certain number of days to remove the signs or pay to have them removed.

Paulshock was aware that Zukos’ PA Operator’s License was under suspension. “I asked Zukos how he got to the Wright Township Police Department. He stated that he walked and laughed. I did not respond. He then stated that he drove. I told him that his license was suspended and he could not drive from this location. I told him to call someone to pick him up or he would be charged,” states Paulshock on the Affidavit of Probable Cause.

At 1:35 p. m. the same day Maureen McGovern came to the Wright Township Police Department. She reported that approximately 60 signs belonging to her were missing. Total value for the signs is $420. Randy Swank also came to the Wright Township Police Department and reported 20 political signs missing valued at $140. Shannon Williams came to the Wright Township Police Department stating that 100 signs valued at $700 paid for the Crestwood Parents for Education Committee were missing. The signs had the names Strecker and Swank on them. Total value of the missing signs $1,260.

On May 22 witness Rose Sturgeon told police that she had witnessed the Blasi Printing van stopped at Timberwood Drive and South Main Road. She confronted Zukos, who said that the election was over and they had to pick the signs up anyway. Sturgeon told police that Zukos continued to take every sign except those belonging to Danny Frascella. Police again interviewed Rose Sturgeon on June 15. Sturgeon stated hat she witnessed Zukos take signs belonging to Strecker/Swank and McGovern from the entrance to Timberwood Drive at South Main Road. She stated that she then saw him cross South Main Road and remove Macko signs from that area. She stated that she questioned Zukos and he told her that the elections were over. She stated she checked her watch and it was 7:45 p. m.

Ptlm. Paulshock contacted the victims to see how many signs were taken from the area of Timberwood Drive and South Main Road. Maureen McGovern stated that she had one sign at that location at a value of $7/ Randy Swank stated he had 4 signs valued at $28 taken from that location. Shannon Williams stated she had 4 signs valued at $28 taken from that location. Brian Macko stated he had 8 signs removed from that area, valued at $56. Total value for 17 signs $119.

Zukos’ preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday August 7, 10:00 a. m. before Magistrate Ron Swank.