Charles Mitchell arrested in suspected political sign vandalism case

It's something all campaigns at every level have dealt with: Vandalized yard signs.

But an arrest made?

That's rare.

But it happened in Boca.

"I called Maria (Sachs) office, left a message, said you're not going to believe this, I saw your sign being put up last night, I came this morning, and it was all torn down," said Domenic Grosso, a Sachs supporter who works near the intersection of Northwest 2nd Avenue and Spanish River Boulevard.

On Thursday afternoon, a Sachs for Senate sign was smashed and left on the ground near Grosso's office.

Boca Raton police say that early Thursday morning, Charles Mitchell, 44, of Boca Raton, was chased down by an officer who spotted him punching a Sachs sign near Yamato Road.

Mitchell allegedly admitted to that one, but not to the one on Spanish River, which police say was damaged in similar fashion.

Sachs - a Democrat - is locked in a high-profile race against Republican Ellyn Bogdanoff.

We tried to ask Mitchell why he targeted a Sachs sign.

"Please leave the property," someone inside his home said.

We asked former Boca Raton Police Chief Andrew Scott why there are so few arrests for these kinds of things.

"Crimes of a misdemeanor nature, other than a few exceptions, must be witnessed by a police officer," said Scott.

Further, some signs are left on public property, meaning they no longer actually belong to anyone.

But what if they're stolen from private property?

There has to be actual evidence against a suspect.

The victims, the people who paid for the signs - the politicians themselves - have to be willing to see it through the justice system.

"It's a very cumbersome system we have, and it does not benefit the witness or the victim," said Scott.

Which means people like Jean Canton of Boca Raton - will have to live with being a victim to a crime that often has no resolution.

"My bumper sticker, on a Friday night, the next morning I came out they were all gone," said Canton.

"You see signs being defaced all over the place. And not just Republicans or Dem... Both, both. It's depressing, it really is, to see people get this aggravated over something," said Grosso.

Sen. Sachs says she's going to see this through the court system, "To stand up for the people who contributed to my campaign."

Mitchell was charged with criminal mischief.

The sign was valued at around $200.

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