Stolen street signs returned in Lamoine

Posted Dec. 27, 2011, at 6:20 p.m.

LAMOINE, Maine — It’s not exactly a Christmas present, but local officials did receive something they had asked for this past week.

Lamoine officials had offered amnesty to anyone who had stolen local street signs, saying they would ask no questions of anyone who dropped them off at the town office. The signs, they said, are expensive to replace and when missing pose a threat to timely responses from emergency crews such as firefighters and ambulance personnel.

In this case, whoever delivered the goods used the mail slot in the front door of the town office rather than the chimney. A week before Christmas, office staff found nearly all of the 14 signs that had disappeared from local roads in November laid on the floor inside the office door.

In a press release, town officials said they had faith that whoever knew where the signs were would do the right thing

“Over the years the town has reported thefts of several signs to the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department and Maine State Police,” Lamoine officials wrote in the statement. “This marks the first time an amnesty offer was made by the town, and the first significant return of any signs.”

All of the street signs already had been replaced, along with new posts and holders, at a cost of more than $835, the release indicated.

The issue of stolen street signs is one that affects many municipalities in Maine, according to officials. With the state’s relatively new requirements aimed at improving emergency response services, many residential roads in Maine that were unnamed for decades or more have been named in the past 10 years.

Officials say that while some signs might be removed because people don’t like the name, others might be taken because the thieves do like the name. “High Street,” one Maine sign maker has said, is one of the more targeted names.

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