Thursday, March 30, 2017

Stolen Signs Creating Big Problems for County

The signs of spring are missing again.

It happens almost every year about this time, road signs start disappearing. It’s a major cost to the county and serious safety concern, said Crittenden County Judge-Executive Perry Newcom.

A few weeks ago, all of the signs on Nunn Switch Road were stolen. A few weeks ago, new road signs were planted along Reiter’s View Road. They were paid for by a state project to improve rural road safety. The next day, they were stolen. Last year about this time, signs were stolen from Fords Ferry and Crittenden Springs roads and around Cave In Rock Ferry landing.

County Attorney Rebecca Johnson said local officials will be more proactive in investigating and prosecuting cases where road signs have been stolen or vandalized. The sheriff is currently work-
ing on a case where a road sign was stolen and later appeared in a wedding photograph on social media. 

Newcom has asked the county’s fiscal court to approve additional funding for road signs in order to make them tougher to steal. He figures with time and materials, it costs about $100 to install a typical green road marker. For about $26 more, the county could get what’s considered anti-theft signs with heavy poles, sturdier material and riveted joints. 

“People don’t realize the safety issues that creates for ambulances and fire departments,” said Magistrate Dan Wood, who is also a member of the Shady Grove Volunteer Fire Department. 

The county attorney said anyone caught with signs will be prosecuted, and depending on the number of signs stolen or damaged, the crime could be considered a felony punishable for a year or more in prison.

The county decided it will soon begin using the sturdier material for road signs.