Spike In Road Sign Theft Creating Problems In OK County

Wednesday, July 13th 2016, 10:33 pm
By: News 9

Crews are reporting a big increase in stolen road signs in parts of Oklahoma County.

And authorities want to warn the thieves their actions could lead to a dangerous or potentially deadly situation.

Oklahoma County crews in District 1 were reportedly forced to spend more than $2,000 on materials just to take care of the damage or replacements from the last 45 days.

A particular stretch of road sees lots of sign technicians in Oklahoma County.

About a month after their last visit, crews were back to the area north of Luther and east of Arcadia, taking their tools to another replacement Triple XXX Road sign on Wednesday.

“In the summertime, we have a large increase in theft and vandalism,” said District 1 Superintendent Brian Jasper.

Jasper said they're dealing with double the issues with road signs right now -- not just with Triple XXX Road but also Lazy Lane, Blackjack Lane, Luther Road and Harrah Road, among others.

Some may consider stealing a road sign a prank or just want something to hang on their wall, but Jasper said everyone should know it’s just not worth it.

A first responder could be in a rural area where they aren’t as familiar with the roads and intersections.

“The price could be more than just what it costs the county to replace,” Jasper said. “It could cost somebody some time that are needing medical attention or needing first responders to be there quickly.”

And even for the everyday driver in an area where a critical sign is not in its place, it could be deadly before the 24/7 on-call crews can arrive to put up a new one.

“There’s going to be some down time that just kind of makes you cringe, you know. Between the time you get the call and the time you can actually get somebody out to actually put up the sign, you just kind of got to hope,” Jasper said.

It's a misdemeanor to steal or even possess a road sign.

But if the violation injures or kills someone, it's a felony with up to two years in prison.