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3 PEOPLE CITED IN VANDALISM OF POLITICAL SIGNS

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Three people have been cited for criminal mischief in connection with the election night vandalism of several campaign signs of Sandy Mayor Steve Newton.

According to a police report, Keith L. Thompson, 19, 9817 S. 610 East, Sandy; Michael Smith, 19, 8968 S. 220 East, Sandy; and a 17-year-old Salt Lake City woman were cited, released and ordered to appear in Sandy Circuit Court on Oct. 13.The report said Officer O. Oakason was eating at a restaurant about 4 a.m. Wednesday when Thompson, whom the officer recognized, came in and asked if mayoral candidate Gary Saville had been one of the winners in Tuesday's primary. The report said that when the officer told him no, Thompson left, upset.

The officer reported that 15 minutes later, while on patrol, he noticed that Newton's campaign sign at 9400 South and 1300 East had been vandalized with black spray paint. He then found similar damage to Newton signs at 9000 S. State, 9400 South and 2000 East, 9800 South and 700 East, and 9000 South and 600 East. The paint was still wet, the report said. The officer then went to Thompson's home, where he questioned Thompson and two other people.

The incident does not appear to be related to an earlier vandalism incident in which someone used a stencil and spray paint to deface other Newton signs, said Capt. Bob Wright. "The other one was very methodically done where this was very erratic."

Wright said the department has no suspects in that earlier incident. "We still haven't got enough information to even question anybody."

Wright said the two Newton sign incidents appear to have been politically motivated, and he's not sure about the reasons behind the vandalism of one of Sandy Richards' campaign signs near the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon. The sign was painted with a symbol resembling an "E." "I'm not sure what that meant."