EDGEWATER, Fla. – Michael Ignasiak, a former mayor of Edgewater running to retake office in November, was officially charged Friday for removing other candidates’ campaign signs near a local restaurant over the weekend.
Ignasiak was formally charged with petit theft nearly a week after stealing his opponent’s campaign signs, according to the 7th District State Attorney’s Office.
Police were initially called to JC’s Riptides, a seafood restaurant at 2576 S. Ridgewood Drive in Edgewater on Oct. 22, by Diezel Depew, the 18-year-old mayoral candidate running against Ignasiak.
Depew told police that his opponent removed his signs and that he wanted to have the signs returned and intended to press charges.
“I’d like to get a statement or apology from Mr. Ignasiak, and maybe then I would consider not taking it so harshly,” Depew said.
He told News 6 that as of Friday, he has yet to receive an apology from Ignasiak.
“He has not spoken to me since the incident. I have not even (heard) one sorrowful remorse from Mr. Ignasiak. He seems to me he has made up every excuse in the book as to why it was OK to steal my campaign signs,” Depew said.
He said the whole situation has been very disheartening.
“We felt like he was a family friend,” Depew said. “All his grandchildren (go) to my mom’s family preschool here in town... I’m just so deeply saddened that he doesn’t own up and say, ‘I’m sorry. It was a mistake.’ But it just shows what kind of character he is. And if he’s stolen from people (who) donated to my campaign, what else will he steal from the residents of Edgewater?”
Ignasiak posted a written agreement on Facebook on Tuesday, saying the restaurant owner gave Ignasiak permission to place his sign there, but the owner didn’t give Depew the same permissions.
News 6 reporter Treasure Roberts spoke with the actual owner of the restaurant, who said it was her son who had signed the agreement, not her. The owner added that she did, in fact, give Depew permission to place his sign outside JC’s Riptides.
“I have not tried to contact Mr. Ignasiak at all. I know he has post(ed) on his Facebook page frequently after this has happened and it’s all been excuses as to why it happened,” Depew said in response to the posts. “It’s been horrible. He has bullied me and mistreated me on Facebook ever since his campaign started. It was very disheartening.”
Depew added it wasn’t the first time his signs were taken, directing police to video footage recorded on a trail camera he said was placed nearby due to those recent alleged thefts.
On that video, police said a black truck was seen pulling into the business’ parking lot around 9:49 a.m., driven by a man officers recognized as Ignasiak, a charging affidavit shows.
According to the affidavit, the footage was clear enough to show the truck’s license plate, which police said was linked to Ignasiak.
Officers said they made contact with Ignasiak, who said he took Depew’s signs because they were in the city’s right of way and because they were blocking his own signs. He has since given the signs over to the city’s Code Enforcement Division, police said.
“I would still like to get a formal apology and I don’t understand why Mr. Ignasiak would do this in the first place since he became first place in the primary run. I just don’t understand it,” Depew said.
During the investigation, officers said they found that Ignasiak had also taken a sign for Ted Noftall, who is running for Volusia County Council, District 3.
Detectives made contact with and informed Noftall, who said Depew first made him aware of the incident. Noftall said he wished to press charges against Ignasiak, according to the affidavit.
The signs themselves were placed at the corner of South Ridgewood Avenue and Joseph Drive, police said. It was later confirmed the location the stolen signs were in was in the right of way of the city, police said.
But the affidavit further shows that only authorized city employees are allowed to remove such signs that violate city ordinances.
According to the affidavit, Ignasiak faces at least one count of petit theft.
News 6 also reached out to Ignasiak for comment, but has yet to hear back.
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