BCSO recovers stolen road signs

Published 2:44 pm Thursday, May 3, 2012

A contest left approximately 35 mailboxes destroyed, 39 roads signs throughout Butler County missing and seven teenagers ordered to perform community service.

According to Butler County Sheriff Kenny Harden, seven students between the ages of 17 and 18 engaged in a contest to see who could steal the most and the biggest road sign. The same students were responsible for destroying the mailboxes.

“We had several mailboxes torn up,” Harden said. “Some were beaten with a hammers and some were run over in the Liberty community and Forest Home community.”

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The signs were stolen from throughout the county stretching from Forest Home to Pigeon Creek and the Sandcutt area.

“We have recovered 27 signs,” Harden said.

The break in the case came when a piece of one of the vehicles used to knock over a mailbox was left at the scene. Harden said authorities were able to identify the vehicle after a principal pointed out which car did not show up to school the following week.

“We worked the scene where the mailboxes were run over,” Harden said. “We were able to match it to a vehicle and then start talking to the seven kids that were are involved in it.”

The signs that are still missing total $2,650, and Harden believed that there was approximately $1,000 in the mailbox damage. The students will also be required to pay for the stolen signs to be put back in place and to replace the signs that were damaged when taken down. Harden estimates that cost to be $100 per sign.

“What we do with school students is we make them fix mailboxes and pay for the damage they did and work it that way with community service,” Harden said. “That’s our plans at this time, and if they get in any trouble in 12 months they’ll be charged.”

Harden said it’s important that signs are left alone in the community because it can mean life or death in certain situations.

“We do encourage everyone to leave the signs alone,” Harden said. “If someone calls for ambulance and the driver is not familiar with the area, they go by the signs, or if someone runs through an intersection, they can have a wreck. It’s not only costly but it’s life threatening.”