Rep. Todd arrested for sign theft; opponent pays bail

Longtime state Rep. Curry Todd was arrested on a theft warrant Tuesday in connection with removing opponents’ campaign signs from Collierville locations, reports the Commercial Appeal.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest at a Tuesday afternoon news conference. Todd, the incumbent in Thursday’s Republican Primary for the district seat, faces three challengers — Diane George, Mark Lovell and Dana Matheny.

The candidate whose signs were stolehn, Lovell, stepped forward to pay Todd’s $100 bond.

“Someone called me and said Curry Todd is still in jail and nobody’s posted his bond yet. I thought, we don’t need our state representative in jail. He can get out and the judge can decide what to do about it later,” Lovell said Tuesday night.

When asked whether he though Todd would repay the cost of the bond, Lovell said: “I don’t know. It’s like lending money to your nephews. You don’t expect to get it back. I figured it was a good deed.”

…Earle Farrell, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, said investigators tried numerous times to have Todd, 68, voluntarily come in to talk about the sign situation. According to Farrell, Todd said he was going to be out of town last week, then said he would come in Friday.

When the state representative didn’t appear, a warrant for theft under $500 was issued Monday for his arrest. Farrell said Todd was taken into custody at his residence around noon Tuesday.

“It’s like my daddy always said: ‘Don’t make me come get ya.’ And Curry Todd forced us to come get him,” Farrell said.

Todd’s arrest is the latest in one of the most contentious campaigns on Thursday’s ballot.

The charge stems from pictures of Todd taking Lovell’s signs from the side of a road. Lovell said one of his campaign supporters captured the pictures of the incumbent removing the signs.

Todd acknowledged he is the person in the pictures, but contended he had a right to remove the placards. The incumbent said he not only had permission from the property owner to put his signs there, but also to pull up signs of any of Todd’s opponent, if they appeared on the property.

“Yes, I did pick up the signs the other day, and I took ’em,” Todd said in a July 19 story. “I wasn’t trying to hide anything. It was daylight.”

At the time the pictures surfaced, Collierville police Lt. David Townsend said the department took a report related to sign theft. The report was sent to the District Attorney General’s office, which is handling the case, for review.

Farrell said the SCSO received a number of inquiries regarding whether authorities would take action against the state representative.

Todd, who was first elected in 1998, was taken to 201 Poplar following the issuance of a misdemeanor warrant regarding the videotaped incident.

“He could have come in very easily and taken care of this and it wouldn’t have come to this,” Farrell said.

Note: This updates and replaces earlier post, which also initially had a headline error.