ALBANY — Dougherty District Attorney Greg Edwards has announced that his office has been forwarded the political sign theft case involving Albany Ward IV Roger Marietta, and that his office in turn has contacted the office of Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr on the matter.
Edwards said he has called on Carr’s office to investigate, and if necessary, prosecute the theft reports in which Marietta is accused of taking down signs for his opponent, Chad Warbington, in the Nov. 5 election.
“Election campaigns often bring out the best in our community because they allow citizens to have a voice in government and elect their chosen representatives,” Edwards said, “but they can also bring out a certain overzealousness that walks a fine line between campaigning against a particular candidate and violating the law.
“In this case, we have allegations involving the theft of campaign signs of a local politician against his political opponent, and because this is both a political matter and a potential crime matter, I have made the decision to seek a special prosecutor from outside Dougherty County to avoid any appearance of impropriety and to ensure a fair and impartial evaluation of the matter.
“My priority as Dougherty County’s District Attorney is to ensure that the safety of the good citizens of our community and their property are represented in our criminal courts whenever the law has been violated, and I will not hesitate to use all my resources at my disposal to investigate and prosecute criminal acts, regardless of who may be involved.”
Warbington said Monday afternoon, two days following the incident, that the incumbent should be prepared to “resign immediately” if he is charged with theft for taking the political signs. Marietta told The Albany Herald earlier Monday he took one of Warbington’s signs “out of frustration.”
Reports said Marietta actually took two signs. Video surfaced on social media over the weekend showing a man removing Warbington campaign signs, and officials with the Albany Police Department said Monday it is pretty clear that the person in the video is Marietta.
Warbington said he received calls and text messages from people who viewed the video on social media. He said two property owners told him they had filed complaints and pressed charges against Marietta.
Marietta said he will continue to campaign on issues including the commission’s approving a balanced budget without tax increases, utility rates below inflation, infrastructure improvements, a lower crime rate in Ward IV and citywide quality-of-life improvements.