Hancock Co. residents: Stop stealing our signs!

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A missing street sign may not seem like a big deal. But what if it meant an ambulance couldn't find your home?

It's a situation like that that has folks in Hancock County's Ansley community worried. They say thieves keep taking down signs in the area, and they're sick of it.

"Enough is enough," said resident John Madden. "I think two thefts in about a six month period is enough."

Madden is President of the Ansley Property Owners Association. He says over the past few weeks, thieves have stolen at least 23 street signs, 11 of those in Heron Bay where his weekend home is located.

"And, of course, that makes it very difficult for deliveries to be made or for me to give directions to my friends. Or even worse, fire response, emergency response. If there are medical emergencies out here and there are no signs to mark which road they need to go on, that could be critical."

It's not only a safety concern. County leaders say the cost to replace one of the signs ends up being a financial burden on the taxpayers.

"There is a tremendous cost in both buying and putting up signs throughout the county. We had a budget this year of $70,000 for the fiscal year," said County Road Manager Bill Johnson. "We've already exceeded that amount for this year. We attribute some of that to we needed to do it routine, but we also have this cost associated with theft and vandalism of signs."

Johnson said so far this year, more than 100 street signs have been stolen or vandalized in unincorporated Hancock County.

"We think the only value these signs have to people is maybe to put them up in their home lounge or their bar room, so they can just point and say, 'Look at this sign,'" Madden said.

But the thieves should beware.

"I might put up a security camera to watch the signs, cause they're important," Madden said.

Right now, investigators have no suspects, but ask anyone with information about the recent sign thefts to contact them at (228) 466-6900.

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