Emergencies: 911


Back to News List  
 August 17th, 2010  
PSL resident catches political sign thief in the act with cell phone camera
A Port St. Lucie resident's cell phone camera photo of a man stealing political signs has led to the man's arrest, according to St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken J. Mascara.

"This arrest sends a powerful message to anyone in St. Lucie County who is thinking about stealing political signs," Sheriff Mascara said. "We will make arrests whenever possible, and we will insist on prosecution."

Sheriff Mascara said; "A friend of political candidate Chris Cooper's son sent the son an e-mail message Friday with a cell phone picture of Mr. Cooper's neighbor, Steven Lewis Nelson, walking down the street with Mr. Cooper's campaign signs crumpled up and under Mr. Nelson's arm. The man with the signs admitted to our detective that he stole them."

Mr. Cooper has reported that hundreds of his campaign signs have been stolen recently.

He lives on S.W. Fireside Circle, Port St. Lucie. Also living on that street is Mr. Nelson, 58. He told a Sheriff's detective that he saw someone taking his picture while Mr. Nelson was carrying the campaign signs and admitted he took them, claiming the Coopers "had been harassing him for years," according to the detective.

Earlier today, deputies arrested Mr. Nelson for second degree petty theft, a misdemeanor that carries with it a penalty of up to a $500 fine and up to six months in jail following conviction. He was taken to the St. Lucie County where he was booked, then released after posting $1,000 bond.

Derek Tucker, the 37-year-old Port St. Lucie resident who sent Mr. Cooper's son, Jeffrey Cooper, the photo, told deputies that he was driving by the intersection of Port St. Lucie Boulevard and Darwin Boulevard Friday afternoon when he saw Mr. Nelson remove three "Cooper for Mayor" signs from the area of the intersection. His girlfriend, Ann Marie Frost, who was in the car with Tucker, handed him her cell phone camera, which he used to take a picture.

He later e-mailed the photo to Jeffrey Cooper, who gave it to his father, who contacted authorities.

crime stoppers