INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Bernie Ceilley was loading up his Mitt Romney presidential campaign signs about 30 days sooner than he expected Monday.
During the weekend, a vandal cut out the center of the three "Romney/Ryan" signs the retiree had posted in Vero Beach, he said. Ceilley, who volunteers for the Republican Executive Committee of Indian River County, said he received a call to check out a fourth vandalized sign north on 17th Street on Monday morning.
"This is not freedom of speech by any means," Ceilley said about the carved-up signs. "Some of the signs I found had been uprooted and tossed into the weeds. "
Ceilley said the signs, posted on the frames of what had been campaign signs for Bill McMullen's bid for Indian River Sheriff, cost about $15 each. Cost aside, he said he was more frustrated about the time he spent posting the 45 signs to find them vandalized.
"It makes you furious," he said. "I feel strongly about the importance of this election."
More than 10,000 people gathered in Tradition Sunday for Romney's speech in St. Lucie County. But Ceilley, who has been involved with local campaign efforts for GOP presidential candidates since Bob Dole's 1996 bid, said he did not attend.
"I'm adverse to crowds of that size," Ceilley said.
The Sheriff's Office and the Vero Beach Police Department have had a handful of reports in recent weeks about signs going missing or being vandalized for candidates in local races.