Increase in stolen street signs in Ames

“In a typical year, we might lose 15 to 20 signs. This year we’ve already lost just over 50,” said City of Ames Traffic Supervisor Brad Becker.

AMES, Iowa – Recently in the town of Ames, the public works department noticed an increase in the number of people stealing street signs.

“In a typical year, we could lose 15 to 20 signs,” said Brad Becker, traffic supervisor for the city’s public works department. “This year we have already lost just over 50.”

The majority of these thefts occur in the vicinity of Iowa State University.

Currently, the Public Works Department maintains 10,909 traffic signs.

Becker noted that it is difficult to maintain the maintenance of these panels and to have to replace those that are stolen.

“We really struggle to track stolen signs, make sure we know about them, and get them replaced,” Becker said.

And the Public Works Department noted that replacing the signs didn’t come cheap.

“We look at the neighborhood of a few hundred dollars every time we need to replace a sign with labor and signage materials.”

Cmd. Jason Tuttle of the Ames Police Department said people stealing these signs may seem harmless, but it could put people’s lives at risk.

“Somebody could run a stop sign and hit a pedestrian or a cyclist or somebody else, so safety is our primary concern,” Tuttle told Local 5.

If someone is caught stealing or in possession of the signs, a person could be charged with a misdemeanor or aggravated misdemeanor.

To help reduce this problem, the Ames Police Department and the Iowa State University Police Department are working together.

Local 5 has contacted campus police to find out their exact plans to reduce thefts.

“We are aware of the issue of sign theft and continue to monitor the area and all areas around campus.”

The Public Works Department is asking people if they see someone stealing a sign or know of someone who has a sign in their possession to report it to the police.

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