A Princeton University professor charged last week with stealing 21 lawn signs belonging to a local business has hired a lawyer to fight the charges.
John Mulvey, who lives in Princeton, allegedly took signs valued at a total of $470 that belong to Princeton Computer Tutor and Repairs. The thefts occurred between June 30 of 2013 and July of this year. The lawn signs were taken from Rosedale Road near Elm Road.
Mulvey, 67, a professor of operations research and financial engineering at Princeton University, was charged after police conducted an investigation. He was captured on video taking the signs that belong to business owner Ted Horodynsky. Mulvey was in possession of all of the lawn signs and returned them to the police, undamaged.
The case is being moved to Superior Court because the value of the signs is more than $400.
Mulvey told the press last week he had no intention of stealing the signs, was not targeting the business owner, and was only cleaning up what he thought was debris on the road.
Horodynsky said the signs were on private property and that he was given permission by the property owner to place the signs on the property. He claims he received a phone call about 11 months ago in which the caller promised to continue to take the signs every time he saw them because Horodynsky allegedly cut him off at the intersection of Route 206 and Elm Road.
A court date for the case has not been set. It is unclear whether the case will be bumped back down to the municipal court.
Under Princeton’s municipal code, signs are not allowed to be placed in the public right of way, except with the approval of the zoning officer. The approval is based on a finding that the particular type of sign is customarily located within the right-of-way. Signs are not allowed to be attached to benches, utility poles, water towers, storage tanks, smokestacks, or other similar structures, or on trees, rocks or other natural features, according to the code book for the town of Princeton.