(KMOV.com) – Two city workers were charged with damaging political signs Friday after a police investigation in Madison County.
Mark McKechan, 38, and Edward O’Brian, 26, employees of the Nameoki Township Street Department were arrested and later confessed to stealing and damaging signs of a political rival of McKechan’s family member, according to police.
On April 2, Pontoon Beach police responded to a report of damage to a political sign.
Officers met with the Randall Viessman, a candidate for Township Supervisor, who reported that a large 4’ by 8’ election sign was vandalized overnight. Upon arrival, officers reported that the sign appeared to have been cut from its wooden frame. The sign also appeared to have been run over by several vehicles.
Viessman also said another sign of his had been cut into several pieces nearby.
After police questioning, McKechan and O’Brian admitted they were bar hopping early in the evening on April 1 and ended up at the residence of Scott and Megan Kohler around midnight. They both said they stayed at the Kohler residence until early the next morning.
McKechan told officers he was driven to one of the signs later that morning by his sister (Megan Kohler) where he damaged it.
Megan Kohler is married to Scott Kohler who is running as the opposition party to Viessman’s political group.
Viessman and his party mate reported later that day on April 2 that several of their political signs had been stolen during the same night from the State Park area, City of Madison area, and Pontoon Beach.
On April 3, McKechan and O’Brian were taken into custody and interrogated about their involvement. McKechan again admitted to his involvement in damaging the signs and also admitted to the theft of the political signs in the State Park area and the City of Madison area.
O’Brian admitted to his involvement in the theft of the signs in the State Park area and the City of Madison area. He also admitted to driving McKechan to the sign on Horseshoe Lake Road and Arlington Drive so he could damage it.
Several political signs for multiple candidates were recovered from O’Brian’s residence.
Both suspects were released after posting bond. O’Brian faces multiple counts of theft, McKechan faces property damage charges.