Stolen Street Signs Add Up
Thieves stole $100,000 worth of Columbia street signs in the past year and a half.
"If you look at some of the other college campuses, and I hate to bring up KU, but Lawrence, Kan., does not have a problem like this," said police Sgt. John White. "It seems to be just here in Columbia. For some reason, it's become a sport."
The city makes about 3,000 street signs a year, with 1,000 replacing stolen ones.
"We purchase good materials to make our signs with, with the thought we'd make them and they'd last about 10 years," explained Jim McKinnon. "Unfortunately, some of the popular ones them don't last 19 days, let alone 10 years."
Columbia's possession of stolen property law lets police arrest you if they find a city sign in your house. But, prosecutors can't charge you with stealing it. A proposed law would require no proof that the person who has the sign actually stole it.
"There is a presumption that you found the street sign and didn't really know it was stolen at the time," explained White. "This is saying, if you're in possession of a street sign, it's a crime."
The Columbia City Council held the first reading of the proposed law Monday night. The council will hold a public hearing on the proposal March 20.