It's a common story during election season -- campaign lawn signs get swiped. Usually, the sign thefts aren't reported to police or dismissed as the work of teen vandals.

But Tuesday, three volunteers for state Rep. Tony Hwang's campaign for the state Senate's 28th District seat found themselves the subject of a police report, though they claimed the incident was just a joke.

A Churchill Road man said he was working on his home's roof around 3:15 p.m. Tuesday when he noticed a Honda Accord pull up in front of his house. A woman got out of the passenger side of the car and looked as if she was about to take a political sign he had posted in his yard for Hwang's Democratic opponent, state Rep. Kim Fawcett.

The man told police that he shouted at the woman, who then got back in the car and the car drove off. The homeowner, however, had written down the license plate number of the car and called police.

The license plate was used to find the owner of the car -- identified by police as Arash Nadim -- who told police he was riding around with two other campaign volunteers when they saw the Fawcett sign. According to the report, Nadim said one of the women got out of the car and "pretended" to take the sign. He told the officer "it was all a joke and insisted he would never take a political sign."

No police action taken and Hwang said Wednesday he does not condone theft of political signs. "Unequivocally. I don't condone that. Political signs on private property are not to be touched," he said.

Hwang said his own campaign signs have been taken, but he's never reported it to the police.

"I'm speechless," he said. "I would never, ever, condone that." He said that perhaps his volunteers' actions were misinterpreted, noting that the homeowner's sign was never actually removed.