Mark McKechan, Edward O'Brian charged for vandalizing campaign signs

9:39 PM, Apr 4, 2013   |    comments
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PONTOON BEACH, Ill. (KSDK) - Two men have been charged for vandalizing campaign signs in Pontoon Beach, Ill.

Police say they received a call just before 9:30 p.m. Tuesday about damage to a political sign at Horseshoe Lake Road and Arlington Drive.

When police arrived they found a four-foot by eight-foot sign had been cut from its wooden frame. It had also been run over by cars.

The person who made the call told officers another sign of the same size had been damaged at the intersection of Horseshoe Lake Road and Highway 162. That sign had been cut into three pieces, two of which were lying on the ground.

Officers told the man that area was not within their jurisdiction and he would have to report the damage to the Madison County Sheriff's Department.

Mark McKechan and Edward O'Brian, both employees of the Nameoki Township Street Department, were interviewed about their possible involvement in the vandalism.

O'Brian denied any involvement in the crime. McKechan denied involvement in the damage, but then later changed his story and said that he damaged the signs.

McKechan said he was driven to one of the signs by his sister, the wife of an opposing candidate, where he damaged the sign.

He also admitted to stealing political signs in State Park and the City of Madison. Police say O'Brian then admitted to being involved in stealing those signs and that he drove McKechan to Horseshoe Lake Road and Arlington Drive so McKechan could damage that sign.

A knife believed to have been used to destroy the signs was found in O'Brian's vehicle, and 12 political signs were found in his home. The signs were for the campaigns of the Positive Action Party, Donald Moore, Tammy Hanfelder, and Melodie Bettis.

O'Brian has been charged with two counts of theft.

McKechan has been charged with one count of criminal property damage.

O'Brian and McKechan were released after posting bond.

Charges are still pending for the two in Madison County and the City of Madison.


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