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Nov 6, 2015 12:49 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Woman Charged With Petit Larceny For Stealing Campaign Signs

An image from the surveillance video that shows a woman removing two campaign signs from in front of a Springs home.
Nov 10, 2015 12:20 PM

A woman who was caught on a hidden surveillance camera stealing political signs the day before Election Day turned herself in to police on Thursday evening, November 5.

Elizabeth Ruth, 73, of East Hampton was charged at police headquarters with one count of petit larceny, a misdemeanor, for the theft of two plastic signs from in front of a Springs home. She was released with an order to appear in court on December 2.

Ms. Ruth, who has served as an election poll watcher for the Democratic Party in past elections, was caught on camera taking two signs from in front of 109 Water Hole Road. One of the signs appeared to support Republican Town Board candidate Margaret Turner and one advertised the StopTheRentalRegistry.com website, a site set up by residents who oppose a plan by the town to require homeowners to register any houses that are to be rented.

Police brought the charges after the video footage was shared with them by Lynne Scanlon, the homeowner in front of whose house the signs were taken. Ms. Scanlon said in an email that a friend had set up the hidden cameras after other signs had disappeared from her house the week before.

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If the artworks are on public property they're probably just litter. Can't have artists just throwing their work up wherever they please, even if they want to improve the aesthetics of the area around that stop sign.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (700), southampton on Nov 6, 15 1:07 PM
Were the signs on private or public property? If the signs were on public property this is ridiculous. Few of the campaign signs littering our roads have been removed. So citizens now have to wait for the campaigns to remove them?
By harbor (400), East Hampton on Nov 6, 15 1:29 PM
Hypocrazy: Plastic bags bad, plastic political signs good.

Thank you madam for your public service.
By Toma Noku (616), Southampton on Nov 6, 15 1:42 PM
1 member liked this comment
Maybe we could pay this woman to remove all of the "Vote for Me" signs plastered everywhere that no one has bothered to remove now that Election day is over!
By Mrs.Sea (268), Sag Harbor on Nov 6, 15 1:45 PM
I was thinking the same thing - picking up the leftovers could be this Democrat Committee Member's "community service". But why should she be paid? It's only "litter" if it was left up there for more than 7 days ... shouldn't this woman feel a little silly? a little shamed? is this really how we want our librarians acting? I hope she doesn't teach these things in the Children's Wing! HAHAHAHA!
By Board Watcher (532), East Hampton on Nov 9, 15 5:15 PM
1 member liked this comment
Readers, the thief, who was an Election Poll Watcher, Stole the signs on Monday, THE DAY BEFORE ELECTIONS. She is an EH Town Board Appointee to the Springs Citizens Advisory Board and serves as the Committee Secretary. She works at the East Hampton Public Library. She understands the meaning of Free Speech.
New York State has a law called the Fair Campaign Code (6201-1) which prohibits all persons from committing acts of Political Espionage, Including the THEFT of Campaign Materials or ...more
By thoughtful (2), East Hampton on Nov 6, 15 2:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
These signs were taken the day before elections. The taking of campaign signs during an election undermines the electoral process and free speech. There are laws that protect Election signs which is why she was arrested. The woman is an East Hampton Town Democratic political appointee, librarian, poll watcher and pro-rental registry advocate. This was not an impulsive act. She knew what she was doing when she was taking Republican candidates signs and signs opposing a rental registry. There is ...more
By Mr P (2), East Hampton on Nov 6, 15 2:32 PM
1 member liked this comment
Wow the East Hampton town elections were undermined by a woman taking away a couple of signs? Lets redo them because this may have had a very negative impact on the outcome. Yes lets count some chads here folks...
By Toma Noku (616), Southampton on Nov 6, 15 2:38 PM
2 members liked this comment
That's not the point now is it? If she didn't like your mailbox, is it OK for her to remove it? If she didn't like an artist/movie/event, is it OK for her to take down all the advertisements? Did she pay for the signs? Were they on her property?

Count some chads?You couldn't read 4 words on the ballot and color in 5 circles. AND you tried to blame someone else for it. Remember that before you make another self righteous comment about politics or anything else.
By Q333 (161), Southampton on Nov 14, 15 9:25 AM
"...video footage was shared with them by the homeowner in front of whose house the signs were taken..."
Private property
I'd be pissed too if someone came on my lawn and stole my signs infringing on my fredom to express my opinion.
By H Man 5050 (3), East Quogue on Nov 6, 15 2:44 PM
So all the political hacks are crawling out of the woodwork to defend the annual blight of political signage, all too much of which is still out there three days after voting closed.

Granted, the woman should have left the signs alone but when the parties treat the voters like idiots who will be swayed by looking at a sign rather than spending that money on real information and promises from the candidates, I have no sympathy.

The law may allow these signs but common sense and ...more
By VOS (1213), WHB on Nov 6, 15 2:48 PM
We have been building support to Stop The Rental Registry in East Hampton. A donor gave us signs prior to the Election that were stolen as fast as they were put out, about 75%. The signs read: StopTheRentalRegistry com I wonder if this woman has them? Our online petition now has over 850 signatures in opposition to a Rental Registry Law in East Hampton.
By StopTheRentalRegistry.com (4), East Hampton on Nov 6, 15 2:56 PM
Everybody knows that all you people who are so desperate to stop this law are the ones who use your houses like they're a Motel 6 and rent them out illegally, poisoning our neighborhoods and ruining our summers so that you can go to PR in the winter....You clearly don't want to actually live here you just want to say you're from here so you can bitch about the rules that keep you from lining your pockets with money from people who do want to be here. Just go away all you leeches. It's beautiful ...more
By em (51), sagaponack on Nov 6, 15 5:29 PM
1 member liked this comment
StopTheRentalRegistry.com does not support over crowded housing or disruptive share-houses. These are problems that need solutions. A Rental Registry will not solve these problems.

Patrick Gunn, a former East Hampton Town Attorney and former head of East Hampton’s Division of Public Safety said in 2013, establishing an East Hampton Town rental registry, and requiring landlords to inform the town about their plans, would not solve housing code violations, nor even give town officials ...more
By StopTheRentalRegistry.com (4), East Hampton on Nov 6, 15 6:26 PM
Actually it has been a useful tool in Southampton. It would work even better if Southampton fully enforced it. Add in the recent SC Supreme Court ruling in which a tenant in a house without a valid rental permit is entitled to their rent back and you have some tools to control the plague of over crowded rentals.
By bird (793), Sag Harbor on Nov 6, 15 6:43 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By mtkfish (59), montauk on Nov 8, 15 12:13 PM
you're, not your
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Nov 8, 15 1:57 PM
All private signs (i.e., those not placed by the government, such as a traffic control sign) that are placed anywhere within the public street right-of-way are deemed to be "litter" by the East Hampton Town Litter and Sign Codes. Waterhole Road has a ROW width of 66 feet that extends 5 to 10 feet behind the street curb. So, the rudely posted video plainly documents that the person who placed those signs in front of the Stop Sign was actually littering public property. Any citizen can, and perhaps ...more
By davbud (116), east hampton on Nov 6, 15 3:19 PM
1 member liked this comment
poster davbud is incorrect.
Here is the Town Code clipped and pasted from eCode"
Section 255-11.55-5.a.i
"Off-premises temporary signs which do not exceed six square feet in area are permitted, provided that they are installed on private property with the permission of the property owner or upon public property, provided such signs do not interfere with the use of such property and do not cause a traffic hazard as determined by the Town Superintendent of Highways or the Town Police ...more
By Mr P (2), East Hampton on Nov 6, 15 3:40 PM
1 member liked this comment
Sorry, Mr. P., although the EH Town Code governing signs is not a model of clarity, it is clear that the "off premises signs" provision you cite concerns the advertising of commercial or charity "events" to be held on a date certain and that are being advertised away from the premises where the event is actually to be held. As specified by Town Zoning Code Section 255-11-55(B)(1), All "Signs located in residential zoning districts ... shall be located entirely upon the property and not within any ...more
By davbud (116), east hampton on Nov 6, 15 5:18 PM
classic Democrat, all for free speech as long as they agree with what's being said!
By bigfresh (4442), north sea on Nov 6, 15 4:06 PM
She's been raking me for years on overdue Library charges. Off with her head!
By Helicopter Tommy (9), Sag Harbor on Nov 6, 15 4:43 PM
Hey bigfresh, "classic" Republicans all for democracy as long as they don't have to steal elections to win.
By June Bug (2454), SOUTHAMPTON on Nov 6, 15 5:23 PM
Actually the article said that at some point in the past she had been a pole watcher. It does not say why she is no longer a pole watcher.
By bird (793), Sag Harbor on Nov 6, 15 6:34 PM
1 member liked this comment
Anonymous: We Stopped Karl Rove from Stealing the Election

The hackers say they blocked manipulation of the vote in three key states.

By Jeff Goldman | Posted November 19, 2012


A recent public letter from Anonymous [PDF file] claims that the hacker group created a "targeted password protected firewall" called The Great Oz, which it launched at 8pm EST on November 6th in order to prevent Karl Rove from stealing the presidential election.

"We placed this ...more
By Mr. Z (11420), North Sea on Nov 6, 15 7:52 PM
These idiot politicians hate signs and plastics. Not when its for their selfish road to being elected. These dirt bags would club a baby seal if thats what it took to be elected.
By chief1 (2739), southampton on Nov 6, 15 7:35 PM
1 member liked this comment
LMFAO!!!! Please come around ALL areas and take all these signs down! LOL!!!
By LI native (127), LI on Nov 6, 15 10:37 PM
I took some of those signs two years ago to advertise a yard sale but it was the day after election day.
By Rich Morey (363), East Hampton on Nov 6, 15 11:19 PM
I took some of those signs two years ago to advertise a yard sale but it was the day after election day.
By Rich Morey (363), East Hampton on Nov 6, 15 11:27 PM
Good for her! At least someone is removing all this litter. We will be looking at some of these signs til Christmas
By Lets go mets (366), Southampton on Nov 7, 15 8:34 AM
1 member liked this comment
... sign stealers are a sleazy bunch. Six "Stop PDD/Hills" signs were stolen,despite being replaced, from private property on Lewis Rd. in East Quogue in the last month or so.
By William Rodney (546), southampton on Nov 7, 15 8:38 AM
1 member liked this comment
Citizens have the right to remove all campaign signs that litter the roads after Election Day. I'm doing my part.
By thediner (11), east hampton on Nov 7, 15 3:52 PM
Report the owners of unruly share houses to the IRS for unreported income. Go to the IRS website and do it anounomsly! That will fix them! They will have a tax lien on them in no time. Fight fire with fire.
By mtkfish (59), montauk on Nov 9, 15 7:54 AM
wow. seriously? This is embarrassing on so many levels. Are we actually spending taxpayer money prosecuting someone who took down a sign? really? -- a 73 year woman is a....gasp...poll watcher....and a threat to our democracy and public well being...and a thief to boot? .let's prosecute her? can everyone please put on their big boy pants. election is over. we should all be thankful we live in a town safe enough where it appears the police have time to pursue this idiocy.
By jackiemay (23), east hampton on Nov 9, 15 11:02 AM
2 members liked this comment
Jackiemay, You may not be familiar with this woman, her name is Betsy Ruth, and she is known around town for her bullying tactics. The lady who caught her in the act is a HERO. Just because someone turns 18 doesn't mean she grows out of being a Bully. Check out the video again, and watch Betsy snatch the signs from the ground. Search: Betsy Ruth and East Hampton Star, and you will see the Vitriole she spews against neighbor after neighbor, week after week, in the Letters to the Editor column.
By thoughtful (2), East Hampton on Nov 12, 15 7:53 PM
1 member liked this comment
Tom Knobel campaign signs still haven't been removed by Knobel or Republican party. Time for town or citizens to trash them.
By thediner (11), east hampton on Nov 9, 15 12:50 PM
This lady should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, not only is she a thief but a trespasser as well. Campaigns signs cost candidates money, not to mention the time to put up the signs this lady has no regard for anyone but herself
By MattThehoople (1), on Nov 9, 15 6:41 PM
These plastic signs are garbage, and look horrible.
By chief1 (2739), southampton on Nov 9, 15 8:09 PM
This is only funny in the fact that this is how low the Dem Committee goes, she IS a member, right? If this were any other political party member the Dems (including her!!) would be outside picketing, pointing fingers, and calling for her resignation from the library .... just saying ... and for all of you who decry the signs, I am more than positive that she and her friends put up just as many in favor of their candidates - so let's not confuse a thief and poor role model with anything other than ...more
By Board Watcher (532), East Hampton on Nov 11, 15 9:30 AM
1 member liked this comment
This so called trustworthy person was foisting her personal BIAS into the democratic process! Shame on her! Remove them AFTER the election next time sugar. You prefer an uninformed vote in favor of whatever you favor? Fascist Café - here we come!
By Vikki K (490), Southampton on Nov 12, 15 9:27 PM
what a legacy to leave your children and grandchildren (if any).
By xtiego (697), bridgehampton on Nov 14, 15 5:16 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By nazznazz (276), east hampton on Nov 18, 15 9:14 AM
Drive-in movies,Coopers Beach, Southampton village