The San Mateo County District Attorney has charged veteran radio traffic reporter Joe McConnell with two petty theft infractions for allegedly moving campaign lawn signs belonging to Burlingame City Council candidate Gene Condon a month before the election. Condon lost and the candidate McConnell was helping, Jerry Deal, was elected. Deal beat incumbent Russ Cohen by 84 votes.
The San Mateo Daily Journal points out that an infraction is similar to a citation in that it carries a maximum fine of $250 per count and the defendant does not quality for a court-appointed attorney or a jury trial. A verdict is rendered by a judge. The law allows a first petty theft offense in which the property is less than $50 to be charged as an infraction rather than a misdemeanor. A second offense, however, would probably not be charged as lightly for a person with a previous infraction, said District Attorney Jim Fox.
Condon, who finished fourth in a five-candidate field (top two to be elected), set up a sting to find out who was stealing his signs back in October, Michelle Durand of the Daily Journal reports. Condon used a friend’s surveillance system to capture the culprit. On Monday, Oct. 8, the tape reportedly recorded McConnell moving the sign from Rosedale Avenue and El Camino Real, the Daily Journal reported.