A Lake Forest councilman who championed stiffer penalties for illegally removing campaign signs was charged Wednesday with committing that same crime.
Prosecutors said that Adam Nick, 50, instructed an accomplice to remove campaign signs on public display that belonged to one of his council colleagues, Scott Voights, who was then running for mayor.
Nick was behind the wheel of a car that was parked illegally at Bake Parkway and Trabuco Road in Lake Forest at about 2 a.m. Oct. 9 when an Orange County Sheriff's deputy spotted his vehicle.
Deputies conducted a search of the councilman's car and found 10 other campaign signs belonging to Voights stored in the backseat, according to the Orange County district attorney's Office.
At the time of the alleged crime, Nick was serving as the city's mayor pro tem.
Nick was charged with one misdemeanor count of petty theft and one misdemeanor count of receiving stolen property. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of one year in county jail.
His arraignment is scheduled for March 2.
In 2014, Nick amended the Lake Forest Sign Code to allow for harsher penalties for those who tamper with or remove campaign signs without permission.
A violation of that municipal code section was upgraded from an infraction to an misdemeanor.