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Theft of political signs ignites a controversy

A man accused by another man of paying him to steal campaign signs belonging to Letcher County Sheriff candidate Barry Engle has denied any knowledge of the incident, and has not been charged, sheriff ’s deputies say.

The man is not being named because he has not been charged with a crime.

Mickey Stines, who is running against Engle, said he has encountered citizens who have falsely accused him of paying for the stolen signs since a story on the subject appeared in the October 3 edition of The Mountain Eagle. Stines said the story, which was based on a sheriff ’s department press release issued late on Tuesday, October 2, made it appear that he was involved in the crimes because the release said Christopher Sexton, 38, of Haymond, had told Sgt. Alisha Congleton he was paid a dollar a sign by “an unnamed source” to steal Engle’s signs.

The name of the person accused is in the citation written to Sexton, but wasn’t included in the press release.

Stines said the man is a neighbor of Engle who has had a dispute with him, but Congleton said the man denies paying anyone to steal the signs, signs, and has no ill will toward Engle. She said his parents live near Engle.

“According to him, he doesn’t even know Barry and doesn’t have any problem with him,” Congleton said.

“He’s denying it was him that paid him, and there is no proof he did it. The Sexton guy has no proof he was the one who paid him,” she said.

Both Engle and Stines work for the Letcher County Sheriff’s Department. Stines has been a bailiff in Letcher District Court for about 16 years. Engle is a retired state police trooper and is chief deputy to Sheriff Danny Webb.

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