News - McHenry County

McHenry County sheriff’s campaign signs vandalized with anti-law enforcement symbols

Both candidates ask community to report anything suspicious related to vandals

Tony Colatorti campaign sign spray painted with an anti-government symbol.

Campaign signs for both Republican candidates vying to be McHenry County‘s next sheriff were vandalized with anti-government and law enforcement symbols and sentiments, the candidates said.

McHenry County Undersheriff Robb Tadelman said initially the signs being damaged were the larger, 4-feet-by-4-feet ones posted on business properties throughout the county, but the damage has shifted to the smaller yard sizes outside private homes.

His opponent, Tony Colatorti, said two of his signs also were vandalized with red, spray painted, anti-law enforcement sentiments in yards in Crystal Lake.

The primary election is June 28, and early voting currently is underway.

“The messages on the signs are anti-law enforcement and ‘anarchists’ symbols,” Tadelman said. “This kind of activity is a direct contradiction to our democracy and the right to freely express your support of a candidate. ... Campaigns tend to get heated, but there are other ways to use that energy instead of destructive means.”

Former police chief Tony Colatorti (left) and McHenry County Undersheriff Robb Tadelman (right) are competing for McHenry County Sheriff in June's primary.

The Crystal Lake Police Department is investigating the vandalism that occurred there, Crystal Lake Police Chief James Black said, but the level of vandalism is no different from any other election cycle.

In Woodstock, Lake in the Hills and McHenry, police department officials said they have not received any reports or seen an uptick in candidate signs being vandalized. McHenry Public Affairs Officer Michael Spohn said those types of reports, in general, are rare.

“I was in patrol for 20 years, and I’ve seen one,” he said.

This isn’t the first time signs backing Colatorti, an Algonquin restaurant owner and the former police chief for Holiday Hills and Prairie Grove, were vandalized.

Following a February incident, Woodstock attorney Robert T. Hanlon was charged with misdemeanor criminal damage to property of less than $500. The charges against Hanlon were dismissed earlier this month, court records show.

“Our campaign is disgusted by these acts of vandalism, and we continue to denounce this behavior, as we had at the beginning of the year when our campaign signs were damaged by our opponent’s donor,” Colatorti said in a statement Friday. “Throughout our campaign, our signs have been stolen, ran over by vehicles and intentionally damaged. This criminal behavior towards people who are exercising their first amendment rights is unacceptable.”

Hanlon donated $1,000 on Jan. 10 to Tadelman’s campaign in the name of his law office, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections.

After Hanlon’s arrest, Tadelman denounced his support and ordered Hanlon’s donation be returned. Tadelman also said he no longer would accept any contributions from Hanlon.

Both candidates ask that anyone with information or security camera footage showing the vandalism contact their local law enforcement agency.