Beer names cause street signs to be stolen in Columbia

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Public Works Department said it will see signs mysteriously go missing during certain seasons of the year. Although crews don't closely track where the signs are taken, or how many of them are stolen, they suspect it is due to the street signs' colorful names. 

On Tuesday, public works took to Twitter, spotlighting Johnathan Hickman, a sign technician. In the post, he noted street names with alcohol are particularly problematic.

"Signs go missing all of the time. Especially streets signs with the names of beers, like Keystone and Rolling Rock," said Columbia Public Works Sign Technician Johnathan Hickman. 

Other popular stolen signs include Chapel Hill, Corona, Malibu, and South Park. 

Public Information Officer for the public works department Barry Dalton said replacing the signs comes out of the city budget but did not immediately know the exact cost of replacing the sign. 

The city has the power to change the names of the street signs, but it would only do so if the people in the neighborhood reported the problem. 

"Our engineers are more than willing and eager to work with anybody that wants to change the name of their street, particularly those streets do come up missing quite a bit," Dalton said. 

Dalton said even though some novelty signs tend to go missing, most residents don't report it because they would have to change their address on things like credit cards, driver's license, or title of car. 

"People become attached to the names of their street. That's a history. People grow up on a street that have a certain name. They don't want to just come in and change it," Dalton said. 

Dalton said public works encourages people to request their street names be changed if it is creating a problem, and the city is working on cutting down the number of stolen signs by a stricter vetting system. 

"It's not as much as a problem going forward because for a little while now we've had a process in place when if a developer wants to create a new street they need to submit names of those streets," Dalton said. "We do a lot better job vetting those names of those streets for people's personal names or names of other college towns."

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