- Associated Press - Monday, March 28, 2016

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - Tippecanoe County officials are asking for the public’s help after dozens of road signs have gone missing.

Opal Kuhl, executive director of the county highway department, said it’s unclear who removed the signs but the thefts are concerning because of the costs to replace them. Last year, the county replaced 67 missing signs for $4,556. It remains unclear whether all of them were linked directly to thefts.

Mike Parks, traffic supervisor for the county, said officials change signs for various reasons This year, the county has spent $2,470 replacing 38 missing signs, according to Parks.

Beyond cost, Kuhl said the issue also involves the public’s safety.

“It really worries us when you see signs gone,” she said. “If you see a sign (gone), call right away so we can get it replaced.”

Tippecanoe County Sheriff Barry Richard said his agency was made aware several weeks ago of signs reported missing within the county. There are no suspects or leads, although Richard said the matter still is being investigated.

He also urged the public to call his office if they see anything suspicious.

“Obviously, it is very concerning because … somebody missing a stop sign going out into traffic where they’re not stopping because they’re anticipating the other side stopping, that definitely creates a very serious accident,” he said.

Tippecanoe County Highway Supervisor Ed Ward said signage being taken down has been a problem in the northwest portion of the county. The southeast portion has experienced incidents involving signs that were pushed over by vehicles, he added.

Ward described the removal of road signs as “a periodic issue that kind of comes and goes.”

“Most of this vandalism occurs during the evening and the nighttime hours … and you know, it happens in the broad daylight, too, but mainly in darkness hours,” he said.

He also asked the public to keep a watchful eye by looking at what vehicles are doing in a particular area.

“We don’t know whoever it was, if they’ll strike again, and we have no way of guessing that, but we have to deal with that extremely quick,” he said. “It’s not something we take lightly.”

Still, Kuhl said she is hopeful the thefts won’t last.

“I hope we don’t have problems all year, but we’ve had a lot missing so far,” she said.

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Source: (Lafayette) Journal & Courier, https://on.jconline.com/1q6oXLF

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Information from: Journal and Courier, https://www.jconline.com


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