Mission Viejo

Sheriff’s Department Investigates Sign Thefts

By Steve Magdziak
 The Orange County District Attorney’s office released a statement on February 11, reporting that a Lake Forest councilman, Adam Nick, was charged with petty theft and receiving stolen property. The charges resulted from Nick’s removal of the campaign signs of another city councilman in November. He was scheduled for arraignment on March 2.*

 The matter is similar to thefts in Mission Viejo, where the OC Sheriff’s Department (“OCSD”) received two complaints against Paul Bucknum for stealing political signs. Bucknum is the husband of Wendy Bucknum, who was campaigning for Mission Viejo City Council. Witnesses filed police reports, stating Paul Bucknum took the campaign signs of other candidates on Election Day.

On November 4 at approximately 6:00 am, a witness reported that Bucknum took three campaign signs from property near Del Lago Elementary School on Entidad, which was a polling place. The witness recognized Bucknum and reported the theft to the OCSD. Bucknum was seen driving a gold Acura.

 On the same at 10:00 am, a campaign volunteer was placing signs on Mustang Run and Aguilar near Trabuco Hills High School, which was a polling place. She called OCSD, stating signs for two campaigns had been taken in her presence minutes after she placed them. She took photos, including several of the driver of a gold Acura, showing the car’s license plate. In her complaint to OCSD, she said the driver followed her to the area, where he took the signs and made threatening remarks to her. An OCSD deputy who handled the complaint reported it as harassment and stalking. The deputy said the driver would be identified on the basis of the photographs.

 The website manager of one of the campaigns, Steve Magdziak of Mission Viejo, said hundreds of signs for StopTheLobbyist.com were stolen within one week. Twenty-one photos have emerged of the gold Acura and the driver, identified as Paul Bucknum.

StopTheLobbyist.com was formed to raise awareness that Wendy Bucknum works for a large property management company, Professional Community Management (PCM), and is a lobbyist for her industry.

According to Wendy Bucknum’s campaign finance reports, her primary donors included developer-related associations that promote new apartment projects and other high-density homebuilding. Her other donors included her employer’s exclusive network of contractors and vendors, such as landscapers, roofing companies, insurance agents and legal firms specializing in homeowner association projects. 

Wendy Bucknum placed third in the Mission Viejo council race for three seats.

An OCSD employee said the deputy’s report about the sign thefts was turned over to OCSD's Investigations Department on November 17.
*To read the details, enter the following address into your computer’s address bar: See: http://tinyurl.com/o5zm9ua )
To read the press release on sign thefts in Mission Viejo, enter: http://tinyurl.com/nlf344g into your computer’s address bar.

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