Rash of sign thefts in Caroline County

By Ben Garbarek - bio | email

CAROLINE COUNTY, VA (WWBT) - If you're driving through Caroline County, you may need a GPS to figure out where you're going. There's been a recent string of street sign thefts.

The signs are being stolen from the Reedy Church area. The sheriff says it's likely a prank by some young people but stealing street signs is not a laughing matter.

Sheriff Tony Lippa says these sign thefts have been going on for a while, but not like this.

"It went from two or three to eight or ten," he said.

Public Works crews have had to replace sixteen signs so far this month. Several signs have been stolen along Seals Road. The road is named after Kenneth Seal's family. He still comes to this area to hunt deer. He says he hasn't noticed the signs missing yet.

"Most the people around here know their way around without the signs," he said.

But not everyone does.

"If you have people traveling," Lippa said. "Especially in a rural area and they don't know much about the area, and they come to an intersection looking for some sort of guidance, if they don't have a GPS system, they're lost."

The sheriff fears emergency responders could get lost trying to help someone in need. Crews from outside other counties come to help out often, and those people don't always know where they're going on these back roads.

Nearby residents think it's simply some teens up to no good.

"I think it's a bunch of young people looking to have a good time," Seals said. "I don't see what use they'd have for the signs, except for a gimmick."

These signs aren't exactly cheap either. Each one costs between $55 and $100, not to mention the money needed to have the new signs installed.

You can get twelve months in jail and up to a $2500 fine. Stealing several signs can be considered felony grand larceny. If you have any information on these sign thefts, you're asked to call the Caroline County Sheriff's Office.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.