FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Brian Spencer Yard Signs Stolen by Opponent’s Supporters, Eyewitnesses Say
PENSACOLA, Fla.—The Pensacola Police Department arrested Ann W. Regan and Wendy C. Labarge for allegedly stealing and destroying incumbent City Councilman Brian Spencer campaign signs.
According to the police report, the 56-year-old Labarge, 227 E. Intendencia St., was seen entering onto 80-year-old Doris Barberi’s property on the corner of Alcaniz and Intendencia streets and removing and destroying several Spencer campaign signs. After bending and dismantling the signs, Labarge was seen handing the signs to Ann Regan who then left the area with the destroyed signs.
The 66-year-old Regan, 424 E. Government St., is also Mark Taylor’s deputy campaign treasurer. Regan was charged with petit theft. Labarge, a Taylor campaign volunteer, was charged with petit theft and criminal mischief. Taylor is running against Spencer in the District 6 race for Pensacola City Council.
Barberi said she was very upset that her signs supporting Spencer for the City Council District 6 seat had gone missing twice before and that she could not believe that someone would enter her yard and remove the signs from her property.
“If she would come in and do that, who knows what else she may do. It just makes me feel insecure in my own home,” Barberi said.
A longtime resident of District 6, Barberi said that earlier in the week, she had told Labarge she did not want a Mark Taylor sign.
“I support Brian Spencer, he is the stronger candidate and Brian should win,” Barberi said. “He has done wonderful things for our area and he is responsive to the needs of this community.”
Spencer met with Mrs. Barberi after attending church this past Sunday to replace the signs, which were stolen a third time. This time, the signs were placed in a bush next to her front porch and next to a fountain, inside her gated yard. Additional signs were placed on her property line at Intendencia and on Alcaniz. In all, 12 Spencer signs went missing over the weekend from her yard and the adjacent right of way.
According to Spencer other signs were also removed without the owners’ knowledge or permission from East Government and East Intendencia streets over the weekend.
“Early in September, I notified my opponent, Mark Taylor, that Brian Spencer campaign signs were being removed without the property owner’s permission. I asked him to remind his volunteers that such action is unlawful. Not only is the removal a crime, it is a violation of your neighbor’s First Amendment rights. While you may not like a person’s choice of candidates, everyone is entitled to their freedom of expression, and to vote for the candidate of his or her choice. It is the American Way,” Spencer said. “It is especially disturbing to learn that, according to witnesses, Wendy Labarge, an attorney, and Ann Regan, the Deputy Treasurer of Mr. Taylor’s campaign, would engage in such behavior.”
Taylor had given Spencer his commitment through an email dated Sept. 9 that he would emphasize to his supporters to leave signs alone.
On Monday morning, Happy Pig Cafe owner Mark Thornton walked over and told Barberi that he and his employees witnessed the crime Sunday afternoon.
He also said that Labarge came in to his restaurant Sunday and created a disturbance by cursing him in front of customers and employees because he placed a banner in support of Brian Spencer.
If anyone has Brian Spencer signs missing or if they want to display a sign showing their support, please call 850-469-1771, email firstname.lastname@example.org or make a request on his campaign Facebook page.