GREENVILLE N.C. (WNCT) – Pitt County Sheriff Neil Elks said he is keeping a close eye on an uptick in stolen street signs in the county of the past few years.
Jeff Coston with the Pitt County Planning Department said the county has averaged more than 100 stolen streets signs each year since 2013. So far this year, 42 signs have already gone missing.
“People take the signs for various reasons,” Coston said. “it may have a name on it that’s familiar to them.’
Coston said signs with a person’s name on them are normally the ones that go missing time after time. He said it is frustrating since they try to go out and replace signs that have gone missing within 24 hours.
Coston estimates that each new sign costs the county about $135 to $150. That means that in all, nearly $15,000 are spent each year to replace stolen signs.
Pitt County Sheriff Neil Elks said it needs to stop.
“I think a lot of people take them as jokes, but it’s very serious when they get taken,” Elks said.
Elks said those responsible for taking the signs face fines, and could spend up to one year in prison.
The missing signs also pose a problem for first responders when trying to figure out where to turn in the case of an emergency.
“Time is of the essence whenever responding, especially for EMS,” said Noel Lee, Director of Pitt County Emergency Management.
Elks said if someone who has taken signs wants to turn them in, his office is willing to work with them.
If you’d like to report a missing sign in your area, contact the Pitt County Planning Department at 252-902-3250 or go to pittcounty.gov.