Strange News

Charged campaign zaps Chapel Hill boy

Posted October 30, 2008

— The presidential campaign has electrified the nation, and one Chapel Hill boy literally got jolted by it.

The 9-year-old boy got a shock Monday from a campaign sign that a neighbor had hooked up to the power source for an electric pet fence.

The neighbor, Shawn Turschak, said he was tired of people stealing McCain-Palin campaign signs from his yard, so he rigged two signs as booby traps.

"I was just furious," he said.

His neighbor, Marion Houser, said she's also had a McCain-Palin sign stolen from her yard.

"You have to clearly walk up the driveway to have gotten the sign," Houser said.

Turschak, who has a degree in electrical engineering, said the current that ran through his electrified signs was so low it wouldn't hurt someone, but he also put yellow warning signs up.

"Obviously, we are not looking to hurt anyone. We simply want our signs to say put," he said. "(The warning sign) just reminds you that you are touching somebody else's property that you shouldn't be."

He mounted a surveillance camera in a nearby tree and captured video of the 9-year-old getting shocked by one sign. The boy was carrying a sign for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama at the time.

"It is obvious from the video that he was coming to remove my sign and replace it with his," Turschak said.

The boy's father, Andrew Noble, upset that his son had been shocked, showed up at Turschak's door. Soon, an Orange County deputy also showed up, too.

Noble said his son just wanted to see how the sign was put together.

Orange County Sheriff Lindy Pendergrass said he doesn't plan to file charges.

The boy's mother said her son knows better than to remove a campaign sign, but she said Turschak's decision to electrify the signs was a bit extreme.

Turschak turned off the electrical system, but he caught another neighbor on camera Wednesday afternoon stealing his signs.

Some neighbors suggested the area where Turschak posted the sign belongs to the subdivision. He maintained it was his property and said people should respect his right to express his opinion even if they don't agree with his views.

"I could ride around Chapel Hill with a dump truck and in two hours fill it up with Obama signs," he said. "I choose not to do that."


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  • frosty Oct 31, 2008

    The boys parents may have stolen signs or talked about and he was just trying to help. So they may be feel somewhat responsible and are being overly defensive to make themselves feel better.

    The electric fence shock is no big deal. As a kid walking in the woods and fields here in the country I have hit a few by accident. It should not be illegal to use electric fences on your own property.

  • gassy1 Oct 31, 2008

    The 9 year old AND his parents need a therapeutic slap. If it were my child-he would have a different charge along with having to apologize to the homeowner and make peace with him. It is rediculous that people-children and adults alike do not respect other peoples property. He is lucky he didnt get shot.

  • lorivalentine1 Oct 31, 2008

    What a joke.. this kid needs a good beating for trying to steal on top of the shock he already got.. his parents are responsible for his juvenile behavior..wait till he get to be a teenager and see what he is trying to steal!

  • winchester73 Oct 31, 2008

    "The world things we're a bunch of backwood hicks. Way to uplift our profile." - foetine

    Honey, the yard sign down the street has been stolen again. Who was it we were going to vote for again?

  • Travised Oct 31, 2008

    SEO raised a valid point on Obama. The birth cert he produced said he was "afro-american" for race. Tell me how many hospitals would put that down in 1961? Rhetorical question my friends, the answer is none. He forgery was a little too PC. He has NOT produced a "certificate of live birth" (that is NOT the same as a birth cert).

    Some of us are just ones that like to follow the rules. Obviously not all care to abide by ALL the requirements of POTUS.

  • foetine Oct 31, 2008

    The world things we're a bunch of backwood hicks. Way to uplift our profile.

  • winchester73 Oct 31, 2008

    How insecure, small and narrow-minded one must be to stoop (literally) to stealing campaign signs.

    Too bad these same people aren't out the day after an election to remove all the signs from roadways, etc.

  • mpheels Oct 31, 2008

    treet007 - he DID put up a warning sign that the area was protected by an electric fence.

  • thinkb4uspeakplz Oct 31, 2008

    Great Job homeowner!!! BAD job parents of the boy. Especailly you mom....why dont you wake up and smell the early signs of criminal behavior. First he is stealing signs and next he will be taking something drugs or a life. Will you defend him then. Teach him the right to freedom of speach not his little 5 finger discount. I would have lit him up too since it is obvious his parents think it is okay for him to go around stealing. He probably didnt fall far from the tree...he learned stealing and lying from somewhere...any thought on from WHO mom and Dad???? What a joke.

  • foetine Oct 31, 2008

    You can always pick up extra signs at any major intersection