Chainsaw-wielding Tavares man destroys city clerk candidate's campaign signs

TAVARES, Fla. — A man in Tavares was caught on camera cutting up two campaign signs with a chainsaw, deputies said.

Deputies said the man cut the signs near State Road 19 in Tavares because, he claims, the signs were not supposed to be on the property.

The man allegedly climbed over a fence and cut up the signs for clerk of court candidate Jason Paynter’s campaign.

Paynter said he had permission from the property owner to put up the signs.

"He really wanted that sign destroyed and he was on a mission to actually destroy it," said Paynter. "About three weeks ago, it started. The first sign I put up got cut down. I thought it was up to just politics, the political games you kind of hear about.”

He put up another sign and it happened again.

"The second time it happened, I thought there was somebody either mad at me or mad at the sign. So, the third time, we knew we were going to place it back on the same piece of property. I put cameras up," Paynter said.

When the sign was destroyed yet again, this time with a chainsaw, Paynter was shocked.

He put the signs back together and called deputies to report what had happened.

Deputies blasted the pictures on social media and asked for help locating the man.

They eventually found him and have sent the case to the state attorney’s office to figure out if the man should be charged.

“Nothing personal against the candidate. I actually voted for him. He just never contacted me to put them on private property,” said the man.

The property’s caretaker said the property belongs to a doctor in Volusia County. The caretaker said the doctor gave permission for the signs to be put up.

Myrt Price

Myrt Price, WFTV.com

Myrt Price joined the eyewitness news team as a general assignment reporter in October of 2012.