Stolen Amish Road Signs – Again | News, Sports, Jobs
ESCANABA – The Delta County Sheriff’s Department received a report on May 3 that two Amish warning signs were stolen on County Rd. 426. Both signs were located on roads in the townships of Escanaba and Cornell. These thefts create a total of seven Amish warning signs that have been stolen from various roads in Delta County in just two years.
Four of these panels were stolen in the last months of 2019.
After Amish families settled in Delta County during the summer of 2019, the Delta County Road Commission installed six Amish warning signs on a number of county roads in the townships of Cornell and Escanaba to alert drivers in the area. The signs, yellow diamonds that depict a horse-drawn buggy, warn motorists that they may share the roadway with Amish travelers who occupy the shoulder when traveling.
On September 9 and 21, 2019, the first four Amish signs were reported to the Sheriff’s Department as stolen, with two signs stolen on each date. In those incidents, the posts holding the signs were also pulled out of the ground, meaning the thief had to dislodge the post from the 3-foot-deep concrete to get it. The signs were never returned, and the Delta County Road Commission replaced them all.
In the recent incident on May 3, only the panels were removed, with the posts left in place. Following the 2019 thefts, a camera was placed on at least one of the Amish warning signs in Delta County. According to the May 3 sheriff’s report, there was no evidence that there was a camera at the crime scene.
The Delta County Road Commission no longer replaces Amish warning signs unless the township requests and pays for them. The current price for the warning signs is $80 each.
The theft of these signs raises a number of safety concerns for the Amish community and motorists traveling on county roads. Horse-drawn buggies move at a much slower pace than automobiles, which can surprise motorists when traveling at high speeds. These strollers are also not designed to withstand high level impacts like most modern vehicles, which are equipped with seat belts, airbags and other protective measures.
Drivers in Delta County should exercise caution when traveling on county roads as members of the Amish community travel to and from Escanaba and Gladstone to do their shopping. When you come into contact with a buggy, it is important to slow down and pass carefully, leaving enough space between vehicles to ensure safety.
Even before the 2019 robberies happened, the Delta County Sheriff’s Department worked with the Amish community to have more Amish warning signs installed on county roads. The request for additional signs was due to heightened safety concerns within the Amish community regarding the severity of car and buggy crashes.
A little over three months ago, a car accident involving a horse-drawn buggy occurred in Michigan. On March 10, 2022 in Montcalm County, a buggy was hit head-on by a pickup truck crossing the center line. The two occupants of the buggy were seriously injured and their horse died. Their buggy, which had overturned on impact, had sustained significant damage.
After the 2019 robberies, local authorities urged thieves to defeat Amish warning signs. Signs, which are rare compared to your average stop sign, are hard to find. Because they must be specially made or not readily available in stock, the time to replace them is much longer than usual.
The Delta County Road Commission asks the public to report any information about the theft and vandalism of Amish warning signs to the Delta County Sheriff’s Office at 906-786-3633.