The suspect says he was retaliating over the removal of his own signs along McGillivray Blvd.
VANCOUVER — A 40-year old Vancouver man is facing charges for allegedly destroying dozens of campaign signs, and he says it was an act of retaliation.
Matthew Rebsch owns Sweet Strokes Painting and tells ClarkCountyToday.com in an exclusive interview that he believed Vancouver City Council candidate David Regan, or someone connected to him, was taking down signs advertising his business along McGillivray Boulevard between Chkalov Drive and 164th Avenue.
“I’ve been putting up my signs since the beginning of June,” Rebsch says, “and they were all fine until all these Regan political signs started coming out.”
Rebsch says his signs began to go missing, so he would replace them.
“I even put one up on a tree, 10-12 feet up, about three houses, four houses down from his (Regan’s) house,” says Rebsch. “And somebody went off, actually got a ladder, climbed up that tree and took my sign down again.”
Rebsch says he knows of at least one other business whose signs were taken.
“So I just got tired,” he says. “I started taking his signs, you know? You’re gonna take mine and everybody else’s, you know, why should yours be the only ones up there?”
Asked if he had taken signs for any other candidates aside from Regan, Rebsch admitted he had targeted at least a couple others.
“There was like maybe two others. That was it,” he says. “I didn’t touch anybody else’s.”
Vancouver Police did confirm that signs from other political candidates were located on Rebsch’s property, but wouldn’t say how many. Regan claims he has been shown pictures of at least half a dozen candidate’s campaign signs in Rebsch’s garage.
Rebsch was detained on Tuesday outside of his home, and police searched his garage. Further details were not released as the case has been handed over to the Prosecuting Attorney’s office. Rebsch was charged with third degree malicious mischief, third degree theft, and defacing or destroying political signage.
For his part, Regan denies taking any other signs down. He says other neighbors noticed the signs being destroyed or going missing, and helped figure out what was happening.
“I got ahold of some video because one neighbor had said they just looked in his car, which was out on the street, and saw political signs in the back of this car,” Regan says. “So all that stuff was forwarded to the police.”
Regan says Rebsch also went into yards along McGillivray and cut up his signs, leaving them in the grass. He says it will cost around $800 to replace all of the ones that were destroyed.
Regan owns a bail bonds business. He says he never had any contact with Rebsch in the past before the signs went missing.
“I don’t know if I need some help or what the deal is, you know?” he says.
Regan contacted several other candidates to let them know their signs may have also been taken or destroyed.
“He would just do rounds, and go pull all these signs out, and cut them up and then leave them piled up,” Regan says.
Rebsch, on the other hand, doesn’t buy Regan’s denial that he had anything to do with his signs being removed.
“You say, like, ‘well how do you know it’s him?’ I mean, it’s obvious. His signs are the only ones being left alone over a two-week period, while every other sign is getting screwed with. I mean, come on,” Rebsch said.
In a statement, Regan called the lost signs an “unfortunate situation” and said anyone who had a sign taken can get a replacement by contacting his campaign.