Fullerton city council candidate allegedly caught on cam stealing campaign signs; suspends campaign

A candidate for Fullerton city council has suspended her campaign after she was allegedly caught on camera stealing multiple campaign signs labeling her a "carpetbagger."

Paulette Chaffee, the wife of Fullerton mayor Doug Chaffee, made the announcement after she said personal attacks have taken a toll on her after video was posted online purporting to show her stealing negative campaign signs about her.

Tony Bushala, a Fullerton businessman, told FOX 11 he spent about $1,000 to purchase and plant 200 campaign signs all around Fullerton labeling Paulette Chaffee as a carpetbagger.

"She does not live in this district but she bought a house in this district to run for office which I call carpetbagging, which everybody understands what a carpetbagger is," Bushala said.

He told FOX 11 that within 3 days, 180 of his signs had been stolen, including two from in front of his office.

When he checked the surveillance video, it revealed a person stealing his two signs at night, and during broad daylight. He says that Person is Paulette Chaffee herself.

"She gets out of the car, she pulls the sign up out of the ground, puts it in her trunk, and off she goes," Bushala said. "One hundred percent that's Paulette on video stealing my sign, I was very upset, that the wife of the mayor of Fullerton would steal from a person that was just expressing their freedom of speech."

When FOX 11 reached Chaffee by phone on Wednesday, she immediately hung up once the reporter identified himself.

A subsequent text message asking for a response to the allegations was left unreturned.

Despite Chaffee's announcement that her campaign would be suspended, her website is still active, her political signs are still all over the city, and Bushala says her name is still on the ballot.

"It's a telling sign of what kind of person that is, to remove somebody's freedom of speech in front of your office, that would mean to me she's not fit for office for sure," Bushala said.

Bushala filed a police report with Fullerton PD, and the department released the following statement:

The Fullerton Police Department has become aware of recent allegations involving the theft of political signs within the City of Fullerton, and a police report has been made regarding the thefts.

The individual who reported the crimes has also alleged that the potential suspect may have ties to Fullerton political contests and as such, the Fullerton Police Department has referred this case to the Orange County District Attorney's Office for follow up and further investigation to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.