By Alex Fees
ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - It's the theft that steals a person's freedom of speech- the removing of campaign yard signs.
Antonio French, Alderman for St. Louis' 6th Ward, released a video on YouTube which appears to show a man removing yard signs which promote French and Lewis Reed, President of the Board of Alderman and candidate for mayor.
George Treadway was arrested in connection to the case. St. Louis Police say Treadway is charged with Class 4 election offenses.
French says the thefts took place in the 4500 block of Athlone. And though Reed offers no proof, he says the man charged in connection to the crime was working for the Slay re-election campaign.
"This has been happening over and over again," said Reed. "And it's sad to see my opponent doing what he's been doing. You don't have to do that to win an election. All you have to do is work on getting your message out. You don't need to be involved in trying to suppress anybody else's message."
A reporter asked Reed if he really thought the Slay Administration would stoop to this level.
"Oh I know they would," said Reed. "They're known for this type of politics and it's sad."
Reed said he's had $3,700 worth of yard signs stolen.
"That's a lot of yard signs. They've stolen the big 4 x 8' yard signs; they've stolen a ton of the smaller signs. And we just continue to turn around and have to buy more yard signs. You really should not have to do that to win an election. Just work to get your message out. And we're not stealing his yard signs."
Contacted for a response, Slay re-election manager Richard Callow said, "The Reed campaign wasn't very specific. Were they complaining about losing the campaign signs they put in vacant lots and buildings, the ones they put in medians, or the ones they have nailed to trees? In any case, we did not hire anyone to take down any of their signs, even the illegally placed ones - though that is always tempting."
Callow continued, "Signs disappear in every campaign. We have lost them as well. It is reprehensible, expensive, and a fact of campaign life. Replacing lost signs is a major campaign organizing effort. That's why the Slay campaign keeps track of the people who have allowed signs to be placed in their yards and at their businesses. They call, we replace them. When the Reed campaign gets better organized, they can do it the same way ... Mr. Reed only has ten fingers, but he has been busy pointing all of them at other people today with no proof at all."