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70 road signs totaling $11,000 stolen in Monroe County

The Sheriff's Office says they need help to track down who is committing the crimes before someone gets hurt.

In Monroe County, someone has stolen more than $11,000 worth of road signs in the last two months.

Abby Kousouris spoke to law enforcement who say it's not just about the money, it's a safety problem.

Lieutenant Lawson Bittick says they’ve seen missing road signs, stop signs, yield signs, and "slow children-at-play" signs. “Basically any sign, I don't think there is any sign that hasn't been targeted,” said Lt. Bittick.

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office says that $11,000 of signs and their poles have been stolen, which is unusual. “In a normal circumstances, it's a teenager that just wants a stop sign for their room or something simple, but you’ll only have one or two that will go missing,” said Lt. Bittick.

He says this could cause traffic confusion for the people of Monroe County.

Resident Stacy Smith says it's a concern. “It can take an innocent life in over a second, over a prank. Somebody was coming to see me one day and they told me the sign at the end of the road was gone. Even the stop sign was gone,” said Smith

Smith says that it was at this intersection where her friend couldn't figure out where to turn because the Teagle Road sign was missing. The Monroe County Sheriff's office says it’s one of the 70-plus signs that have been stolen.

Smith says she there is an even greater concern when stop signs get stolen. “It’s as simple as taking a sign down, that could take a life. It’s crazy that someone could want to do that for a prank or any reason,” said Smith.

Lt. Bittick says taxpayers will foot the bill to replace the signs, so they're asking the public to help. “Hopefully they'll keep an eye out to keep other people safe. Someone running a stop sign unintentionally and striking a another vehicle can cause a serious accident,” said Lt. Bittick.

He says they suspect that more than one person is stealing signs, but they don’t have any leads yet. The Sheriff’s office will be increasing patrols and have set up cameras to catch the thieves. Bittick says stealing signs is a felony and the thieves could face up to 15 years in jail.

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