By Lynda Jensen
MONTROSE, MN Official charges were filed last week alleging that a Montrose City Council member took opponents’ campaign signs down without permission, just days before the November election.
Jeff Petersen, 54, has been charged with misdemeanor theft on two different days when he was videotaped taking down campaign signs that belonged to Jason Simmons and Lloyd Johnson.
Simmons, who made an unsuccessful bid for council, and Johnson, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor, had signs removed along Highway 12 in front of Clark Gas Station (formerly the 12 Hi Superette) Nov. 1 and Nov. 3. Petersen received the highest number of votes cast in Montrose.
Resident Bob Chantland told the Wright County Sheriff’s Office that he “was in his Bobcat, behind the bushes, waiting for somebody to take signs because it had been a problem in the past, and that he had a videotape with him and successfully recorded Jeffrey Petersen taking signs.”
Gas station owner Jagwinder Chand told police that he gave permission to anyone who asked him to erect signs because he wanted to remain neutral due to his business.
Petersen said he took signs down on three different occasions, but that he had permission from the property owner to do so.
This is contrary to what the owner said to the sheriff’s deputy who was investigating, saying that he gave permission for people to put up, but not take down, signs.
While being interviewed for the alleged sign mishap, Petersen was also tagged for an expired license, which he took care of, and a cracked windshield traffic violation.
Petersen has a court date in Wright County Wednesday, Dec. 10.
The video can be seen at this link.