CLARK COUNTY, Wash. – Someone is putting up signs around southwest Washington promising to pay a reward for catching people vandalizing or damaging political signs, but whoever's behind the effort doesn't want to be identified.
The signs are popping up among other political signs this election season in areas across southwest Washington.
From the theft of a Republican political sign in Vancouver that was caught on camera to tomatoes tossed at a Vancouver home with a Democratic sign out front, it’s been a contentious political season.
Now, someone’s paying to erect the signs that promise a $100 reward for sign vandalism and warning of a possible $5,000 fine for anyone caught damaging or stealing signs.
“This is a real weird kinda thing. I never did any – I just print whatever they send me,” said Tom Edwards who has been in the sign-printing business for 15 years.
He said he got an anonymous call, and eventually payment, to print the signs from his Woodland yard sign print shop. He said he printed 100 signs. The caller also set up the website SignThug.com in the hopes of cutting down on the number of damaged and stolen political signs this season.
“They’ve (the signs) mostly just gone down into Clark County and Cowlitz County – some as samples and some as where they purchased them,” Edwards said. “They told me to give away 50 and 50 were going to be sold.”
A handful of the signs ended up in the Clark County Republican Party office. They can't confirm who's behind the reward signs either.
“We're just doing nothing with them until we find out where they came from, what the agenda is of the person,” said office coordinator Mary Graham.
People familiar with the political season say this kind of effort is not unusual.
There's also no phone number or name associated with the SignThug.com website. KATU News has contacted the site administrator, Kyle Baxter, who’s based in Fife near Tacoma. He said the person who asked him to set up the site, and paid him to do it, wants to remain anonymous.
KATU News has sent an email to the website but has yet to hear back.