Police: More than 30 Darien street signs stolen in apparent prank
DARIEN — More than 30 street signs around town have been stolen in what officials say is likely an ongoing prank.
But town officials have a message for the culprits: Stealing is illegal and missing signs could be dangerous for drivers.
Darien’s public works and police have found some of the stolen signs in various locations, including a wooded area and in a local pond. Darien Police Chief Donald Anderson said many signs were recovered in a Darien school parking lot.
According to Ed Gentile, Darien’s director of public works, the department has recently logged about 33 street signs has been stolen in town.
People have pointed out on social media that signs were removed from the busy Hollow Tree Ridge Road and Leroy Avenue, among others.
Anderson said stealing street signs typically would be a sixth-degree larceny offense since the signs are valued at less than $500.
However, several signs taken in a single night could warrant a higher charge, Anderson said. He said sixth-degree larceny is punishable by a $500 fine and up to three months in prison, although Anderson said jail time would be unlikely.
Gentile said the costs associated with repairing the signs vary. He said some signs are taken without damage to the pole, while in other instances, the pole has been knocked down as well.
To replace the sign itself costs $75, and to replace the pole is about $50. That doesn’t include manpower — it could take 30 minutes to an hour to replace the sign and pole.
First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said even if it is a prank, it’s far from being harmless.
“It’s stealing of government property and it creates tremendous driver confusion. Not a particularly safe situation on a road that is a major arterial road,” she said.
Smartsigns.com points out that stealing street signs can be more dangerous than people think — especially if emergency responders get lost on the way to provide aid to someone in need.
Gentile said the town is adding tamper-proof security bolts to provide more protection for the new signs.