PUNTA GORDA, Fla.- A Charlotte County Sheriff's deputy arrested a Punta Gorda man this morning for stealing a campaign sign July 26 belonging to candidate John J. Perez who is running for the office of Property Appraiser. The deputy met with 48-year-old Joseph Rex Goulding, of 7920 Riverside Drive, and gave him a Notice to Appear in court on a misdemeanor Petit Theft charge. This is a non-custodial arrest and he is to appear in court to face the charge.

At 3:30 p.m. last Thursday, two detectives observed a man remove a political sign in Port Charlotte at Edgewater Drive and Port Charlotte Boulevard. The subject put the stolen sign valued at $25 in the back of his pickup truck and then left the area. Detectives followed and called for a road deputy to respond; the deputy arrived and made a traffic stop on the white Ford pickup driven by Goulding.

Goulding told the deputy he was out placing campaign signs in the community in support of his candidate Paul Polk, also running for the Property Appraiser position. He said he saw a Perez sign in the County right-of-way, stopped, removed it from the ground, put it in his pickup, and then drove off.