Sign Theft Accusations Made Against Second Ward Candidate
by Sam H. Clauder II
–Eleventh hour political accusations surfaced earlier this week associating Jason Desjardins, a candidate in Tuesday’s election to represent the Second Ward on the San Bernardino City Council, with the alleged Oct. 21 theft of four political yard signs supporting Second Ward Councilman Dennis Baxter and incumbent Mayor Patrick J. Morris.
A video clip allegedly showing the theft posted on the internet site You Tube, however, was less than fully incriminatory.
Desjardins and an accomplice allegedly stole the signs from the yard of a home at 308 West 18th Street at the corner of Arrowhead Drive.
Two eyewitnesses, and a security camera posted at a nearby home, were being used by police to ascertain the identity of the culprits. Accusations were made that it was Desjardins and an associate of his who committed the theft of four yard signs – two promoting Morris and two promoting Baxter, Desjardins’ opposition for the Second Ward seat.
A determination of the value of the theft has yet to be made. If the signs are valued at more tan $400, those determined responsible for the thefts could be charged with felonies; if less than $400 they could be charged with misdemeanors.
The theft was witnessed by Charles and Sandy Nolen as they sat on their front porch while reading a political mailer they had just received from Desjardins.
“We sit out on the porch every night and just watch traffic go by,” said Mrs. Nolen, “and we were reading our mail, which just happened to be a political postcard from Desjardins, so it was easy for us to recognize him.”
Nolen said she and her husband watched Desjardins and a friend pick the fours signs from the house next door and place all of them the trunk of Desjardins vehicle.
“We watched them walk to the corner where the signs were. Then each one of them took two signs, one from Morris and one from Baxter, and put them in the back of Desjardins’ truck.
They sat around for a minute, then when he saw us on our porch he came to the edge of the lawn and looked at us.
“We thought he was were campaigning, and was coming over to talk to us, but he stared at us for a minute, and then got kind of nervous, jumped in his truck and took off,” said Nolen.
“They used to be over there all the time, but they haven’t been back since.”
Nearby resident Kim Ditton, the Nolen’s daughter-in-law, thinks Desjardins may be using a nearby vacated house at 324 West 18th Street as a campaign headquarters, possibly without permission of the owner.
Ditton said the house completed foreclosure on Oct. 13, and is set for auction by the Bank of America on November 9. It was previously owned by Jerry L. and Sonia M. Martin who have been registered to vote at the house for four years.
“There hasn’t been a payment on the house since July of 2008,” Ditton said. “Neither Desjardins, or the Martins should be there but the bank has just not come and physically locked them out. But they’re there all the time, storing and getting campaign materials.”
San Bernardino police detectives Rogers and Passo have both interviewed the couple and reviewed the security camera footage and made a tentative identification of Desjardins.
Baxter filed a complaint and generated a police report which has been forwarded to the district attorney’s office. Baxter said Morris has indicated he will join in the complaint.
Police told the Nolen’s they do not know what the district attorney might do with the complaint.
Attempts by the Sentinel to reach Desjardins on October 26, 27 and 28, by both phone and email were unsuccessful.