Dozens of street signs have been stolen off the corners and sidewalks in the usually quiet New Jersey town of Ridgewood. Not only is this costly, it also can be dangerous.
The Ridgewood Police Department is offering amnesty to anyone who has stolen a street sign and brings it back before Sept. 15.
37 signs have currently been stolen this month.
However, since the city's amnesty policy has been implemented, Chief John Ward said 20 signs have been returned.
“You take a stop sign or a yield sign and there’s an accident with injury and/ or death you can be held criminally and civilly responsible for if it’s lead back to you. We’ve seen where they’ve shown up in people’s dorm rooms or on people’s walls,” Ward stated.
Ward also mentioned that there is a trend to these crimes. They seem to occur most often around August, which is right when students are heading back to college.
It costs up to $200 to replace a stolen sign, but the damage it can cause is priceless.
“I used to work as a paramedic. I know first-hand the frustration of going into an area where a lot of signs were missing and trying to get to a person who needed advanced life support and we could not find our way. That could cost someone their life,” Ward explained.
Penalties can be even higher if you steal a stop sign because if someone is injured or killed from a crash then you are facing bigger charges, if not homicide.