UPDATED: April 2, 2013, 3:20 p.m.

If it’s election season, then candidate signs must be disappearing in force from front lawns throughout the area. From all appearances, it’s happening on cue in both Brookfield and North Riverside, where there are contested village elections.

Both Bill Russ and Michael Towner, who are running for village president of Brookfield, emailed the Landmark early this week to report that dozens of their signs had gone missing over the weekend. Towner reported that at least 20 of his signs had disappeared from front yards in the village, while Russ said more that 100 of his signs had vanished from lawns on the south end of the village and in the Hollywood section of Brookfield.

Russ on Tuesday went so far as to offer a $200 reward to anyone who sees someone stealing signs, makes a report and the investigation results in the perpetrator being caught. 

He also wondered whether his longtime rival, Kit Ketchmark, who is running for president under the PEP Party banner, might be behind the disappearance of so many of his signs. So we asked Ketchmark if he knew anything about it.

Ketchmark responded by saying that since mid-March about 50 PEP Party election signs had been removed from the lawns in front of homes of people who had given permission for the signs to be there. Some of the signs were found cut in pieces, as if hacked by a box cutter, he said.

Ketchmark said he personally confronted four teenagers in Hollywood, who were taking signs off lawns and tearing them up. According to Ketchmark, the youths weren’t being choosy in the signs they were targeting. He denied being behind the disappearance of his opponents’ signs.

“To say we’re doing it is a bit ridiculous,” said Ketchmark.

Meanwhile, in North Riverside, an independent candidate for mayor George Georgopoulos claimed that 35 of his yard signs along with six large banners had gone missing since March 16. The banners are expensive, said Georgopoulos, who estimated the value of one of the 4-by-8-foot banners at $285.

We also, heard from Mike Dropka, the campaign manager for the VIP Party in North Riverside, who wanted to make sure people didn’t get the idea from Georgopoulos’ complaints about his missing signs that VIP was responsible. The party was not responsible for the signs, going missing, Dropka said.

He did say that VIP has made it through to this point without too much happening to their signs. Just a couple of the larger signs have been damaged, but most of the lawn signs appear to have been left intact, he said.

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