Sign thief caught on camera apologizes to campaigns

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX--- The man who admits he stole a pile of campaign signs says he was just trying to clean up what he considered "blight" in his neighborhood.

"I thought I was helping out, but I stepped on a land mine.  It was a dumb move," James Burke told 3TV.

He stole several rounds of signs, down the block from his home at 65th Street and Cactus Road, on the border between Phoenix and Scottsdale.   Each time someone replaced them, Burke says he would roll by and pick them up.

"These things are everywhere.  I actually thought I was helping the neighbor out by cleaning his yard up," he said, not realizing it was his neighbor who had been putting the signs out.

That neighbor grew tired of his signs disappearing, and set up a surveillance system to catch the thief.

The video shows Burke stealing signs from Secretary of State Candidate Michele Reagan, State House Candidate Shawnna Bowlick, and US Rep. David Schweikert.

All three are republicans.  Burke says he is, too, and insists his actions were not politically motivated.

"I'm sure people are sick and tired of [these signs].  It was a feeble attempt at being a neighborhood vigilante," he said.

Phoenix Police cited Burke, who faces a court date and possible fines.