Last week’s storms blew down trees, fences and signs all over town, but Mansfield school board candidate Darrell Sneed knows his campaign signs weren’t victims of the wind, but of thieves.
“Two district employees saw people taking my signs,” said Sneed, 58, who is running for Place 6 on the Mansfield school board. “They cut the signs down.”
At least six large campaign signs and a “bunch of yard signs” have been taken, he said. Another large sign was damaged, Sneed said. What really makes him confused is that other candidates’ signs that were near his were not touched.
“I don’t think it was a prank,” he said. “For some reason, my signs are being targeted.”
Sneed is one of nine candidates in the race for Place 6, currently held by Daniel Gallagher, who is not seeking re-election.
Stealing campaign signs is illegal, as is damaging signs, said Mansfield police Sgt. Mike Midkiff. No other candidates in the school board or City Council races have reported missing signs, Midkiff said.
Houston Mitchell, who is also running for Place 6 on school board, said he has noticed a couple of his large signs missing, but has not reported them to police.
Lylia King, principal at Mary Jo Sheppard, couldn’t believe it when she saw people taking Sneed’s signs March 29 off FM 1187, so she, her husband and son turned around for another look.
“When we first saw it, we thought surely that did not just happen,” King said. “A man with a beard was driving and a young girl was jumping out and using some type of blade to cut them down or pull them out of the ground. It was a white couple in a white pickup.”
King got the license plate number on the white Ford truck and turned it into police.
“There was a Joshua Spare sign right across the street,” she said. “Why would they take one and not the other? We love Mr. Sneed and can’t imagine why anyone would do that. Plus, it’s against the law.”
Another district employee, who asked to remain anonymous, also saw a white man and young woman in a white truck taking campaign signs March 29, this time on Turner Warnell Road.
“I just happened to glance over and saw the lady,” she said. “I saw his sign and a few other signs in the back of the truck. I drove around and tried to catch them. It looked like they had a bunch, but his stood out because we have one. Another one of my friends said they pulled one out of her front yard.”
Sneed retired last year after after 34 years in education, the last 13 in the Mansfield school district. He was the first African-American principal in the Mansfield school district after the schools were integrated in 1965, serving as principal at T.A. Howard Middle School from 1996-2001. Sneed was also the first African-American to serve on the district’s executive council, retiring as an associate superintendent in 2016.
He is now the executive pastor at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington.
“This community has come too far to allow something like this to happen,” Sneed said. “This does not need to be a reflection on the goodness of people in Mansfield.”
Anyone with information can contact the Mansfield police at 817-804-5700.