Originally Published: November 10, 2010 9:50 p.m.
An alleged protest turned into felony charges after Yavapai County Sheriff's deputies arrested a Phoenix man they believe posted labels criticizing road conditions on signs over the past two months.
Deputies booked William Leigh Dougan, 57, into the Yavapai County Jail on charges of felony vandalism and defacing/damaging property this past Saturday after a deputy saw him place a label on a road sign in Crown King and found more labels in his pockets matching those used to deface signs in the area.
Since his arrest, Dougan has been released on a $5,000 bond pending court action, said Dwight D'Evelyn, spokesman for the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office.
Dougan told deputies that over the past two months he placed labels on county road signs along connecting roads to Crown King that read: "Put Our Tax Dollars to Work Efficiently...GRADE THE WHOLE DAMN ROAD NOT JUST PARTS OF IT!!!" Each time the labels were removed, the suspect would return and apply more, D'Evelyn said.
Deputies developed information from cameras, witnesses and tire track evidence that provided a basic suspect and vehicle description, and deputies began surveillance.
At 6 a.m. Saturday, a deputy saw a white truck stop several times along the roadway from Crown King. When Dougan got out of the truck, he allegedly scraped the surface of a road sign and placed a bumper-sticker-sized label on the sign's surface, D'Evelyn said.
As Dougan walked towards other nearby signs, the deputy spoke with him and found several labels in Dougan's pocket matching the previous labels.
Dougan said he takes care of his ailing mother in Phoenix and travels to the Crown King area to camp out and rest, D'Evelyn said.
Dougan told deputies he put the labels on the signs because he is frustrated with the poor condition of the road he travels most weekends. He told deputies he called the road department several times to complain, but did not believe they took his concerns seriously.
Yavapai County Public Works officials estimate the cost of repairing damage to road signs during the past two months is $5,000, D'Evelyn said. Once the label was removed from a sign, its reflective coating became diminished to a point where replacement was necessary.