Salt Lake City police have arrested a man they allege stole political yard signs from a house in the Sugar House neighborhood.

Police said the victim had placed signs out in his front yard in support of Salt Lake City Council candidate Roger McConkie, and had several of them disappear. Frustrated, police said the man created a makeshift alarm system to catch the sign thief.

"He put a sign in his yard and put a string that went from the sign into his living room and had bells attached to the string," Salt Lake City Police detective Jared Wihongi said Monday. "He slept the night in his living room fully dressed so he could be ready."

About 12:30 a.m. Saturday, police said the bells woke the man up. The man, who had also set up a video camera to watch his campaign sign, ran outside and saw the alleged sign thief.

Police said the suspect got into a car parked down the street near 2000 East and 2100 South. The homeowner got a license plate and called police.

Officers responding to the call looked at the video tape and traced the plate to Gary Robert Heintz, 52. Under questioning, Wihongi said Heintz did not give any reason for taking the signs.

"He claimed he didn't have any political motives or have any feelings that give any motive," Wihongi said. "He just told the police he'd been involved in a 'strange incident' and didn't know why he did it."

Police cited Heintz with attempted theft, a class B misdemeanor.


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