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Mystery Sign Thief Shows Up At Norwood Headquarters

7:29 PM, Nov 25, 2009   |    comments
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This man was seen taking signs belonging to mayoral candidate Mary Norwood Monday morning. Do you know this man? Contact us at wxia-news@wxia.gannett.com if you know who he is.

ATLANTA, GA -- The mystery over a man videotaped taking Mary Norwood campaign signs on Monday grew a little bit more mysterious Wednesday.

11Alive News learned the man showed up at Mary Norwood's campaign headquarters on Tuesday.

He was videotaped Monday taking up several Norwood signs along Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive and then taking them to a nearby satellite headquarters of opponent Kasim Reed.

The video was shot by State Representative Ralph Long who shared it with 11Alive News.

Long admitted putting the signs out as bait and claimed the man was working for the Reed campaign.

But the Reed campaign insisted the man told them Long paid him and staged the video to make them look bad.

Calling himself Torlin Williams, the man showed up at Norwood headquarters Tuesday morning wearing a Kasim Reed for Mayor t-shirt.

The Norwood campaign says Williams asked for money to support their side of the story that he was working for the Reed campaign when he took the signs.

Mary Norwood's campaign videotaped a meeting between Williams and some of their staff, including her.

They would not let 11Alive News have a copy of the video, but they did let this reporter watch the entire eighteen minutes.

In it, Williams said he was homeless and that he needed money.

He was given a meal and what the Norwood campaign described as $20 for bus fare.

But Norwood repeatedly refused to pay him for any information.

"He wanted me to pay him in exchange for information and I told him that I don't do that," Norwood told our 11Alive camera today.

Toward the end of the video Norwood did offer Williams a job with her campaign as a field operative, but she still refused to pay him for any information.

"We are hiring people, but I'm not hiring you because of anything that you are sharing with me, I don't do that," Norwood said.

When we told him about the video Wednesday, opponent Kasim Reed said it only supports his campaign's claim that the man was paid by Representative Long to take up signs in the first place.

"They're desperate and they will do anything in the last six days of this campaign to try to advance Miss Norwood's agenda," Reed told our camera.

Norwood called the whole stolen sign affair an unfortunate distraction from the real issues of the campaign.

"Politics is a mean business and, unfortunately, we're seeing some of that," she added.

11Alive News went to a couple of Atlanta homeless shelters where Williams claimed to have been staying recently, but has still not found him.

One question we want to ask him is who, if anyone, paid him to take up the Norwood signs on Monday.

Norwood and her staff did not ask him that question in the video we were shown.

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