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Pair charged in Burbank school board lawn sign thefts

Two men allegedly seen taking Tabet campaign's lawn displays.

April 06, 2013|By Alene Tchekmedyian, alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com
  • School board candidate Charlene Tabet responds to questions in the city council chambers at Burbank City Hall on Wednesday, January 30, 2013. Two men are charged with petty theft after police reported finding several, fewer than 10, of Tabet's lawn signs.
School board candidate Charlene Tabet responds to questions… (Tim Berger / Staff…)

Two men were charged with petty theft Friday for allegedly stealing election lawn signs belonging to Burbank Unified school board candidate Charlene Tabet, officials said.

The men — Sevada Isayan and Vahe Assarian — were reportedly seen leaving former school board member Denise Wilcox’s Burbank home with Tabet’s sign.

“They jumped out of the car and grabbed the sign,” Wilcox said Friday.

After the incident, Wilcox said her husband ran to his car and tailed the suspects while calling the police.

Police reported finding several — fewer than 10 — of Tabet’s lawn signs in the car, according to Burbank Police Sgt. Claudio Losacco.

As a former board member who “ran a couple campaigns,” Wilcox said she was offended by the apparent attempt to “influence the campaign by stealing yard signs.”

“People spend a lot of money — their own money — on their campaigns,” she said.

And if a candidate is behind the thefts, he or she should drop out of the race, Wilcox added.

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“If you can’t control the people on your campaign, you’re not much of a leader,” she said.

The incident marks the second in which Tabet’s lawn signs were reportedly stolen from a Burbank building.

A volunteer working for Burbank Unified school board candidate Steve Ferguson’s campaign was fined $950 after pleading no contest last month to charges that he stole Tabet’s signs from a Burbank business in February.

On Friday, Ferguson — who is competing with Tabet in Tuesday’s general election — said Isayan and Assarian do not work on his campaign, nor can he recall ever meeting them.

“I have no relationship with them whatsoever,” Ferguson said.

Tabet could not be reached for comment.

Isayan and Assarian — whose ages were not immediately available Friday — face up to six months in jail or a $1,000 fine, and are slated to be arraigned later this month, said Burbank Asst. City Atty. Danny Wei.

The volunteer for Ferguson’s campaign, Scott Trinidad, was fined $200 plus penalty assessments, bringing the total to $950.

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Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

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