Officials Say At Least 75 Traffic, Stop & Street Signs Stolen In Past Month

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — More than 70 street signs have been stolen from roadways in Ridgewood, N.J. in the last month.

As CBS 2’s Don Champion reported, it all could be a prank. But no one in Ridgewood who spoke to CBS 2 found it funny, and many raised safety concerns.

The signs have vanished along manicured yards where people and dogs walk freely, and even along roads where traffic is steady.

“Seems like a violation of the town,” one resident said.

Residents simply do not understand it.

“Who would want a street sign?” a man said. “I have no idea.”

The signs have been disappearing for about a month – street signs, stop signs and do-not-enter signs among them. In total, 75 signs and counting have been taken down.

“It’s dangerous — it’s really not OK,” said Sinead Rundell of Ridgewood. “I feel like it’s probably kids being kids.”

Jim Connell of the Ridgewood Public Works Department said somebody somewhere has to have information about the thefts, as his crews have been busy quickly trying to replace the signs.

He emphasized that the thefts can mean danger for motorists and pedestrians.

“You get people that are not familiar with the area, and they come to the intersection not knowing they have to stop go through,” Connell said, “and might cause an accident.”

If the thefts are a prank, village officials are not laughing. Not only do the missing signs bring up safety concerns, but also in these times of tight budgets, they can be expensive to replace.”

“Just the materials — $40 or $50, so there’s maybe 40 of those, it adds up,” Connell said, “and stop signs are $50, $60.”

In total, street signs can cost between $100 and $500 to replace.

As officials try solving the mystery, drivers are being told to pay attention while behind the wheel.

“Especially with the start of school, it’s awful, considering one of most important things in Ridgewood is kids being safe,” said resident Sarah Fabricant.

The latest report of a sign theft came just this past weekend.

Residents are being urged to quickly report missing signs and call the Ridgewood Police Department at 201-652-3900 if they witness anyone removing signs.

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