An alleged theft has left the campaigns of Wharton County tax assessor/collector, which will be decided in a run-off election on July 14, in a state of confusion and distress following a report that signs had been stolen from the properties of supporters.
According to the Wharton Police Department, complainant and Republican candidate Cindy Hernandez called local law enforcement at approximately 7:35 a.m. Monday morning to report that several of her campaign signs had been stolen from the yards of supporters overnight.
“After viewing video footage from a residential video from a Facebook posting, we were able to develop potential leads,” said WPD Chief Terry Lynch. “In the course of investigating one of the leads, WPD officers located more than 40 of the election signs in the bed of a suspect’s truck.”
‘We will not let this take away from the ultimate goal — Wharton County citizens deserve an experienced, qualified tax assessor/collector.’
Further investigation revealed that four juvenile suspects — two 17-year-olds and two 16-year-olds — were allegedly involved, the department said.
“The case is still being investigated and we are not releasing any suspect names at this time,” Lynch said.
According to WPD, charges are currently pending and no arrests have been made.
Lynch said he could not comment regarding the specific charges pending, but noted that the initial call was a report of theft.
The chief also declined to comment regarding the motive behind the alleged offense.
‘This is horrible. It’s horrible that someone stole her signs and it’s horrible that people believe that either her supporters or supporters of mine could stoop so low to resort to stealing campaign signs.’
Vying for the Republican nomination of Wharton County tax assessor/collector, the complainant expressed gratitude to law enforcement and the community, as well as a focus on her plan to represent voters.
“I want to thank everyone for their support. Thank you to the Wharton Police Department and citizens of Wharton for being on the lookout,” Hernandez said. “The signs have been recovered, but some have been damaged. We will not let this take away from the ultimate goal — Wharton County citizens deserve an experienced, qualified tax assessor/collector.”
Republican candidate Sarah Hudgins also wished to clarify her position on the incident in response to rumors of her campaign’s involvement.
“I would like to express to Cindy and Wharton County that I do not condone this at all. Signs are a part of the process of running for office. It lets people know you are running. I feel horrible that people would try to sabotage any election of a Wharton County official,” Hudgins told The County Gin. “I have had many people reach out to myself and my campaign today, asking if I had anything to do with this. Myself, nor my campaign, family and friends have anything to do the removal or stealing of signs. I have reached out to her personally to let her know that as well.
“This is horrible. It’s horrible that someone stole her signs and it’s horrible that people believe that either her supporters or supporters of mine could stoop so low to resort to stealing campaign signs.
“I have spent the entire day defending myself from rumors that I was responsible. The 16- and 17-year-olds responsible for this mess have created rumor mills and potentially hurt a very clean campaign from both candidates, which is what this process is all about — running good, clean campaigns and having the person with the most votes win. I wish Cindy, my opponent, the best.”
Individuals with information regarding the alleged offense are asked to contact the Wharton Police Department at (979) 532-3131.
Editor’s Note: The Campaign for Sarah Hudgins for Tax Assessor/Collector is a paid advertiser with The County Gin, which is funded by paid advertisers and, in part, donations from the community. Financial supporters play no role in The Gin’s journalism.