Road signs don’t belong on a bedroom wall

Published 11:45 pm Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Washington Parish Council devoted some of its meeting time Monday to a discussion on road sign thefts and the dangers that issue poses.

Transportation Manager Lavell Gerald reported that the parish spent $6,000 on replacing stolen road name signs during 2013, nearly half of the $12,000 that was spent on signs in total. The previous year, cost to the parish for sign replacement was $6,600.

Gerald said that he had to order eight new signs on Monday alone.

He said two reasons people may be stealing the signs are to get money for the aluminum or just “for fun.” Parish President Richard Thomas said he believes the latter is the more likely motivation, and it’s a good possibility many of the signs are hanging in the thieves’ bedrooms or were stolen “just because.”

Thomas said a couple of years ago the parish discovered a large pile of signs that had fallen out of the back of a pickup truck, and the vandalism was reported to the Sheriff’s Office. In that case teenagers had committed the thefts.

Sign thefts, which may not seem like much of a big deal, can be a serious issue. First, it’s a crime. But more importantly, if a stop sign is taken, for instance, an accident could easily occur when vehicles meet at an intersection. And in that case, the thief could be held liable. Or, if an ambulance is trying to find a road, but the road sign is missing, the extra minutes could be the difference between life and death.

It’s important for parish residents, both young and old, to know about the problems associated with road sign theft. Quite simply, just don’t do it. And if you see someone else doing it, report it to the Sheriff’s Office.‡