After a joint investigation by the Franklin Police Department and the Heard County Sheriff’s Office, an arrest has been made related to the missing and vandalized political signs belonging to Heard County Commission Chair candidate Russ Massa.
Ezekiel Scott Bailey, a 20-year-old resident of Franklin, turned himself into authorities Friday on the charge of Theft By Taking.
Ezekiel Scott Bailey
Bailey is alleged to have taken several of Massa’s political signs from various public intersections and private properties in Heard County.
Bailey also allegedly spray painted over the signs leaving only vulgar remarks and returned them to public right of ways in several parts of the county.
Massa first noticed the signs were being vandalized when many of his supporters began to contact him during Labor Day weekend after spotting the signs.
Franklin Police Chief Kevin Hannah and Heard County Sheriff Department investigator Kenneth Hester led the investigation. A reward was offered by several citizens which was key in solving the case.
“One of our most valuable resources as investigators can be the help of our local citizens. We ask that our citizens always keep an eye open for suspicious activity and contact us when they feel there might be a problem,” stated Chief Hannah.
Russ Massa expressed his relief that the case was solved. “I am so very thankful to Chief Hannah and Investigator Hester for the hard work they put into this case. I am appreciative that they were able to solve it so quickly,” said Massa Friday afternoon.
According to Massa, many of his signs have been taken throughout his campaign and he asks that citizens keep their eyes and ears open for anyone that may be disturbing not only his signs but any other candidates’ signage as well.
“I would also like to thank everyone that contributed to the reward, contacted me with the location of the damaged signs, and helped in any way with the investigation. I hate to see a young person in our community charged with such a petty crime, but I hope that he will learn a lesson from this and I hope that this will prevent anyone else from making a similar mistake in the future,” added Massa.