Stolen road signs costing taxpayers - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Stolen road signs costing taxpayers

Road signs are being stolen and defaced in Worth County. It's not just a simple case of vandalism, it is dangerous.

Replacing the signs is costing the county thousands of dollars, and worse than that, someone has already been involved in a car wreck due to a messed up sign.

Worth County is in the process of replacing old road signs with new ones.

"These are the older signs, we are replacing it with the new signs, you can tell the way the material is on this sign, it is designed to be more reflective where you can see it," says John Merritt, Worth County Public Works Director.

But as you can see, it doesn't matter if they are old or new, people are vandalizing signs or even worse, stealing them.

"Wiggling it back and forth wiggling it off and leaving with this piece of aluminum," says Merritt.

And he says there is only one reason he can think of for why this is happening.

"Undoubtedly to sell them to get the price of aluminum, melt the aluminum down and reselling it for scrap," says Merritt,

The city had to replace eight missing or damaged stop signs last week and there are already four replacement work orders for this week.

"It feels like we are bumping our heads against a wall, we need to be out doing something else but we are having to go put up signs," says Merritt.

Merritt says people do not realize the real damage that messing with road signs can cause.

"About 2-3 weeks ago, we had someone take a sign and pull the post up and everything and turn it around backwards, and an individual run off the end of the road," says Merritt.

Luckily the driver was not injured, but Merritt says it is hurting taxpayers.

In the last year he says about 4000 dollars was spent on replacing street name signs, which does not even include all of the stop signs replaced.

"If law enforcement catches them, we are going to punish them to the full extent of the law," says Merritt.

And he is confident they will eventually be caught.

Copyright 2011 WALB.  All rights reserved.   

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