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VOTE 2010: Campaign signs vandalized as races heat up

READ MORE: Campaign signs vandalized as races heat up

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The Congressional race between Mike McIntyre and Ilario Pantano has gotten so nasty people are actually stealing private property. For the second time, Matt DiGioia's giant Pantano sign has been taken from his commercial property.

Surveillance video shows a man stealing the 40 by 96-inch sign and casually walking away with it Tuesday. DiGioia put a camera up on the corner of his property after the sign was taken the first time a couple weeks ago.

"This can't be tolerated," DiGioia said. "I think it's really a violation of my rights to some degree. You know, First Amendment. If this is the candidate that I would like to show my allegiance to, then someone shouldn't come on my property and take my personal property and essentially trespass and steal at the same time.">

DiGioia hopes someone will recognize the man in the video and turn him in.

"I really think it's kind of an act of desperation," he said. "People have the feeling that this is a very critical election, and this is a criminal act. So I think it's another reason to get away from politics as usual and put some new blood in Congress."

This is not the only race where signs have become collateral damage.

"Unfortunately we've lost a lot of civility, and I think that's disappointing to all of us who think that bipartisanship is to be embraced," said Deborah Butler, a Democrat running for New Hanover County Commission. "I think we all need to learn how to be respectful and responsible."

Butler has to replace about 10 of her campaign signs that were stolen from Porter's Neck Road.

"It's just absolutely sophomoric and childish and unacceptable in my opinion," she said.

DiGioia sent the surveillance video to the Sheriff's Office, and he says it is investigating.

Pantano's campaign is not the only victim in the congressional race. Earlier this month, Pantano had to ask his supporters to stop vandalizing signs supporting incumbent Mike McIntyre.

Candidates say these signs are not cheap. The big ones can run a couple hundred dollars each.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


Pantano is a murder, I would

Pantano is a murder, I would never vote for him. I'm glad someone took his sign down. Hopefully they'll all be down soon.

I know him!

Wow! I'm not kidding... that looks just like Brian Berger, no joke! Take a close look!!!!


I am a candidate near Charlotte and have had more than 200 signs stolen so far this campaign.


Maybe people are just SICK of seeing the blight on the side of the road. Every commercial break on TV is a lame pack of lies ad for these politicians, its gets old fast.

Das..gotta agree. I think

Das..gotta agree. I think everybody is sick of all the political advertising. Why are these people allowed to litter state right-of-ways? Let's see who removes their signs after the farce is over. I saw a big mower cutting grass the other day on 17 South. He was running over all the signs and chewing them up :) Way to go! All political advertising should be limited to one week before any election.

I agree

I think they should make the signs illegal...or limit a candidate to say 100 of them. I'm sick of seeing the damn things. I came home one day and found two in front of my home...was a waste for the candidate cause it went straight to the trash

There was an article

There was an article cometime back about families erecting roadside memorials to those who were killed in accidents. the DOT guy said it was against the law to place anything on the right-of-ways. How are these political signs legal, then? If they are not, they should be removed and the candidate charged a fee for the removal. Talk about filling the state coffers!!!!!

Vandalism? Why aren't we talking about Pantano's alleged crimes?

As a North Carolina resident and proud family member of decorated veterans, I am frankly shocked that no one cares about the severity of the war crimes Pantano is accused of.

Regardless of politics, he admits and is proud of the fact that he put 60 rounds of heavy artillery into two unarmed prisoners of war, and then played games with their corpses. That the charges were later dropped despite the damning testimony of his own fellow soldiers dumbfounds me-- and he ADMITTED doing it and takes pride in it!!! Honestly, that could be a capital crime in many states, and we are seriously thinking of sending this guy to congress?? It takes a whole lot for a marine to consider accusing a fellow marine of a war crime, and the fact that the court marshal dismissed the case (he was not found "innocent") reminds me of the old saying that military justice is for justice what military music is for music, i.e. a second-rate imitation.

I will cry for our state if this animal represents us. His GOP primary opponent was also a combat vet, and HE said as much himself. There is no honor in shooting unarmed prisoners of war! And people care about a campaign sign? It's not even on the same planet.

You have no idea what you're talking about - NONE!

1. There was no "court marshal" (sic). There was an article 32 investigation conducted, after which the conveneing authority decided there was insufficient evidence to go to a court martial. That's exactly the same as a grand jury refusing to return a bill of indictment because of insufficient evidence. In America, we believe that a person is innocent until proven guilty.

2. The statement against Lieutenant Pantano was judged not credible because it came from a Sergeant who had previously been disciplined by Pantano, and had been heard bragging about his plan to get even.

3. Sixty rounds of "heavy artillery?" Lieutenant Panatno was armed with an M-16A2, which fires a 5.56 mm round. That's about the same size as a .22 LR round. He squeezed the rigger only twenty times to fire sixty rounds. You know as much about what constitutes artillery as you do about the military justice system.

4. In no way, shape, or form did these men qualify as POWs. The Geneva Protocols have very strict definitions of who constitutes a POW, and suspected enemy forces unter temporary apprehension and interrogation so not qualify until such time as a decision is made to permanently detain them.

5. The fact that they were unarmed is inconsequential. Enemy forces can be engaged at any time until they are in the act of surrendering or are rendered incapacitated. (The one exception is downed aircrew, who cannot be engaged until they are on the ground.) Lieutenant Pantano reported that the two men started advancing on him, so he engaged them. That was perfectly acceptable under the Rules of Engagement in effect, and is also substantiated by the autopsy results that clearly indicate the men were not shot from the back. The fact that these two men had just exited a building in which was found a large cache of weapons and ammunition proves that Pantano did nothing more than eliminate two of the bad guys.

Perhaps having decorated veterans in your family doesn't qualify you as an expert in military matters?

splitting hairs here

Ok, you have one point right, but the size of the bullets is irrelevant. He "only" squeezed the trigger 20 times to produce 60 rounds?!?!?! At point blank range with men who have already been searched, that is still a clear indication of well beyond excessive force.

He reloaded his clip and emptied it AGAIN into their dead bodies. Does that sound like the action of a war hero? Just what exactly was his objective? Did he think they were going to come back to life?

There is a reason why the incident has since been incorporated into Marine training manuals as an example of "what not to do" in such situations. YET HE BRAGS ABOUT WHAT HE DID AS THOUGH IT SHOWS HIS "BRAVERY"!!! His actions show only cowardice!!! If you or anyone else are inclined to BRAG about taking life, then you are a poor example of/for Americas men and women who serve. No one denies they were "bad guys" but they were IN CUSTODY!! You seem to know the letter of the Geneva Conventions quite well, but I'd say the spirit has been completely lost on you my friend. War is not about revenge.

The fact that there was never a proper trial does not mean that he is innocent or guilty, and I am not suggesting that he should be thrown in jail now -- I am merely suggesting that we should not VOTE for the guy, because he will be an embarrassment to our state. The details of the autopsy report are not public, nor is there transparency in many cases such as these. There have been many cases like this swept under the rug in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they are a major hindrance in our efforts to win hearts and minds.

Even if Pantano's own account of these events in his self-promotional book are accurate (a highly dubious proposition) then he acted improperly and stupidly. Even giving him the biggest benefit of the doubt possible, he is a horrid example of a U.S. marine.

By the way, the old "my accuser is just a disgruntled subordinate who wanted to get even with me" line has been used by about 50 million murder suspects since God was a boy -- it hardly constitutes exculpatory evidence.

You don't even know what you're talking about

You've been listening to the mcintyre campaign for too long. We haven't used "clips" on shoulder fired weapons for almost half a century. You people are like a broken record.

In the meantime, please cite any example of Pantano being found guilty of anything greater than Jaywalking.

Just one.


I dare you.

You can't... can you? You're just another Pantano hater who has nothing whatsoever to damn him on but what the Democratic Party tells you.

When you've served in two wars, and when two terrorists rush you with the intent to kill you, I'd love to see what your reaction would be.

Nah, I'll wager you've never even come close to the danger Pantano has faced in his lifetime. It's so much easier for you to condemn him from the safety of your nice air conditioned home, isn't it?

one more thing

By the way -- regardless of whether they were shot from front or back or both (with that many rounds, they could have been shot in a whole lotta different directions), their bodies were found kneeling inside the vehicle. How exactly were they "rushing" him, when he was guarding them from outside the vehicle???

And Pantano's version of the story of the exact nature of the "threat" posed to him by his unarmed captives has changed slightly in about 5 different interviews. It is painfully unclear why he did what he did, until you take into account his personality. As he himself said:

"I believed that by firing the number of rounds that I did, I was sending a message that we were no better friend, no worse enemy."

Where exactly in the rules of war is that justification supported?

Thanks for telling me about war

Now, from one who spent over half his adult life learning, waging, and teaching the art of war, let me tell you what war is: War is destroying the enemy and his will to fight. Our greatest failures, Vietnam, Iraq, and now Afghanistan are caused when we forget that nations wage war against nations, not groups of unidentifiable people within nations. With the exception of the British re-entry in Malaya shortly after they surrendered the colony, there is no successful third-party led counterinsurgency to be found in history.

Lieutenant Pantano tried to destroy the enemy and his will to fight in spades, perhaps with too much gusto for some "gentler sensibilities." Lieutenants are not always known for their judgment, but immature lieutenants grow into brilliant colonels. However I, who have been in the sitaution of engaging an enemy at very close range, would never be so presumptuous as to second guess his actions in actually engaging them. I am reasonably certain that the first enemy I shot at close range required a front-end loader to recover, because of his weight gain.

So it's far more than splitting hairs. You and others are guilty of a blatant attempt to continually assassinate the character of a man because of charges that were dismissed over five years ago by a commanding general who knew far more about every aspect of Pantano's actions that you.

It's also ridiculous to assume that in a war hallmarked by "Nail the soldier/Marine/sailor" at every turn, Lieutenant Pantano was somehow the golden boy, protected from charges while everyone else was constantly having to look over their shoulder.

Tackle his positions, hate him because of the way he parts his hair, but if the best you can come up with is that Pantano fights dirty, then you really have no argument to present.


Read comments on this site, trust me there are MANY of us that do not have the wool pulled over our eyes about the Preppy Marine. He is a disgrace whether he was convicted or not. Narcissist to the nth degree.

C'mon, Das....time to admit it....

He's a little stud muffin and you hate him because of the strange effect he has on you, right?

Ewwwww Common

He is a little man, pasty skin, big head with beady eyes. Not my type. I will stick with my 6'4 bear of a man.

Now, ask MAJ. :)

Sorry Das

Between Pantano and McIntyre I definitely think Ilario is the least back in his marine days. Not as much so now...but still better looking than Mike. Thankfully i'm not the kind of idiot that votes based on a person's looks though haha :)

Thanks for not jumping on the fact...

...that I have to be a dinosaur to use the term "stud muffin." (That's 1987?) I stopped keeping up with cool coloquialisms when I looked in the mirror one day and decided I was no longer a stud muffin, so I didn't have to be cool any more. Levis became Wranglers, and Izod became Cabelas.

I thought about using "hottie" in my first shot across Das' bow, but it just sounded!

After all, I do have that John Wayne image that I have to maintain....


There are no men in politics that I find attractive. I don't care for stuffed suits. I think a lot of men voted for McCain cause Palin and his wife were attractive. Yes, I will admit Palin is attractive... till she opens her pie hole anyway.

finally some good news

I am glad somebody decided to clean up that crap