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View Full Version : Anybody ever get caught stealing a street sign?


ziggyonice
Dec 14, 2009, 11:12 AM
So today we had a city inspector come by our apartment to check it met their standards for "rent". Well the review went all fine and dandy except for the fact that when the inspector walked in with our landlord, he was greeted by a street sign that my roommate had found on the ground several months ago.

"Stealing the city's property is against the law, gentlemen," he said. We looked at him thinking, 'Who the hell are you to enforce the law?' Either way, he took the sign with him and left. Now I don't know if he has any authority whatsoever, but let's just say that he does. If he contacts the police, or judicial offices, or whoever, are we subject to a fine or penalty? Would it make a difference that the individual who found the sign no longer lives within state boundaries?

Obviously this sort of thing can vary from state to state, or city to city. I guess I'm just looking for anyone else who has maybe experienced a similar situation fine or other penalty.

TuffLuffJimmy
Dec 14, 2009, 11:14 AM
I'm guessing he just tripped on the little power he has and took the sign. He's probably not going to turn it in to anyone since he doesn't even know who to turn it in to.

ethical
Dec 14, 2009, 11:38 AM
I agree with Jimmy. It would be way too much hassle for him to do all that, I really don't think he'll bother.

What road sign was it? I woke up with a big "Road Closed" sign in my room a few weeks ago :D

Zombie Acorn
Dec 14, 2009, 11:43 AM
There is a sign with the label "speed hump" down stairs. I didn't personally steal it though.

Hayduke60
Dec 14, 2009, 11:43 AM
What was the sign? If it was something cool like High St. or the like, then he probably took it home. It's gracing the wall of his basement lair. They really need to catch you in the act, to do anything about you having one street sign.

MacVixen
Dec 14, 2009, 11:44 AM
The inspector was likely power tripping, but his statement of "Stealing the city's property is against the law, gentlemen," is absolutely true. Every municipality will react differently. I just happen to work for a Public Works department and one of my duties is pusuing reimbursement for stolen/damaged street signs :D We never go after people in the legal sense - all we want is our sign back or some money to make a new one.

GimmeSlack12
Dec 14, 2009, 11:48 AM
I remember in college my friends frat brother lived at a house where Police found a STOP sign on the back patio (patio was open to the adjacent parking lot). The police came around to the apartment and took one of the housemates downtown because the kid was on probation and having the sign violated the probation.

The guy they took in had only lived there a few months and that street sign had been there much much longer. Such a messed up situation, but the moral of the story: Do not mess with street signs.

(OP I highly doubt you're in any trouble)

-aggie-
Dec 14, 2009, 11:48 AM
There is a sign with the label "speed hump" down stairs. I didn't personally steal it though.

I'm sending someone right now to pick it up. Kiss your A$$ goodbye! :)

andalusia
Dec 14, 2009, 11:51 AM
Not yet....

However there is a street in Lancaster called Gage Street. I must have it.

yg17
Dec 14, 2009, 12:01 PM
Wouldn't they have to prove you stole it? You could've just as easily bought a replica sign.

Not yet....

However there is a street in Lancaster called Gage Street. I must have it.
Pfft, that's nothing. I want the sign for the town of *********, Austria :D

(yes, it's real. Wikipedia it)

andalusia
Dec 14, 2009, 12:06 PM
Pfft, that's nothing. I want the sign for the town of *********, Austria :D

Your last name is *********? ;)

miles01110
Dec 14, 2009, 12:10 PM
The inspector was likely power tripping, but his statement of "Stealing the city's property is against the law, gentlemen," is absolutely true. Every municipality will react differently. I just happen to work for a Public Works department and one of my duties is pusuing reimbursement for stolen/damaged street signs :D We never go after people in the legal sense - all we want is our sign back or some money to make a new one.

So how do you get money back for the sign? Do you just ask nicely?

Dagless
Dec 14, 2009, 12:26 PM
We did the opposite once. Someone stole a street sign so we painted in a new name at night.
I've never known of anyone to get in trouble over stealing a sign before (locally I mean).

maflynn
Dec 14, 2009, 12:40 PM
Well the review went all fine and dandy except for the fact that when the inspector walked in with our landlord, he was greeted by a street sign that my roommate had found on the ground several months ago.
No offense but you had city property in your possession did you not. Does it matter that you didn't pull it off the pole but rather found it lying around? It's still city property that you took w/o permission.

The inspector could have been on a power trip but he's right you know.

MacVixen
Dec 14, 2009, 01:00 PM
So how do you get money back for the sign? Do you just ask nicely?

Pretty much. We send them a bill. Most people pay right up. If not, it goes to the Tax Collector's Office - I'm sure they are not as nice as we are in DPW :D

r1ch4rd
Dec 14, 2009, 01:00 PM
I agree with Jimmy. It would be way too much hassle for him to do all that, I really don't think he'll bother.

What road sign was it? I woke up with a big "Road Closed" sign in my room a few weeks ago :D

Student eh? If you know Upper Brook street there is a pirate flag on the side of a building that is asking to be stolen. Some friends of mine once carried an old street light home too.

Sdashiki
Dec 14, 2009, 01:05 PM
Pretty much. We send them a bill. Most people pay right up. If not, it goes to the Tax Collector's Office - I'm sure they are not as nice as we are in DPW :D

So are all street signs, whether a decade or a day old...illegal to have in your possession?

Do these things not exist outside the realm of govt municipalities and the like? Anytime I see one at a yard sale, flea market or someone else's home or establishment...I have to assume its illegal!?

Ive acquired a "Slow Children at Play" sign...all metal, 100% city grade sign. Only thing about it is the backside of it (it was glued to these busted fake wood things in the development)...it was originally for a BBQ restaurant. Has their info and hours just like any typical business sign.

one side is a BBQ restaurant...the other is "Slow Children at Play"...I cant tell you how hilarious we all thought that was when it peeled from the glue.

So tell me...is the city now stealing local biz signs and then re-purposing them for city use!? And whats the point in trying to come into my home and take it from me, city worker or not. Its not even from the state I currently reside in...but being a generic sign (albeit with the local biz info on it) whose to say.

Gav2k
Dec 14, 2009, 01:05 PM
If he was going to have the cops come arrest you for theft he would have been better off leaving the sign in your possetion. He has taken it back to the office and it'll sit collecting dust.

SwiftLives
Dec 14, 2009, 01:32 PM
There's usually a little sticker on the back of the sign which has the city contact info on it. I know this since I had some signs confiscated in college (that I had found in a trashcan, so they were legally mine. Not that I'm bitter).

Lesson?

Remove the sticker, and then suddenly it becomes an item purchased at an antiques store several years ago :)

MacVixen
Dec 14, 2009, 01:52 PM
So are all street signs, whether a decade or a day old...illegal to have in your possession?

Do these things not exist outside the realm of govt municipalities and the like? Anytime I see one at a yard sale, flea market or someone else's home or establishment...I have to assume its illegal!?

Ive acquired a "Slow Children at Play" sign...all metal, 100% city grade sign. Only thing about it is the backside of it (it was glued to these busted fake wood things in the development)...it was originally for a BBQ restaurant. Has their info and hours just like any typical business sign.

one side is a BBQ restaurant...the other is "Slow Children at Play"...I cant tell you how hilarious we all thought that was when it peeled from the glue.

So tell me...is the city now stealing local biz signs and then re-purposing them for city use!? And whats the point in trying to come into my home and take it from me, city worker or not. Its not even from the state I currently reside in...but being a generic sign (albeit with the local biz info on it) whose to say.

I'd say to follow SwiftLive's advice if you are that worried about it.
Private companies make these signs as well for private roads, company parking lots, etc. It's not only municipalities that have them. However, if it's a street name sign for a city-maintained street, odds are the sign belongs to the city and not just a private individual.

Don't know what to make about that last paragraph of yours, except to say no, the cities (my city anyway) is not stealing local biz sings and then re-purposing them for city use :confused::confused: But when someone is in a traffic accident and knocks out a sign that was installed by the city, or if someone is caught with signs in their possession that have "Property of City of _______ " on the back, then we ask for reimbursement. Not sure why that seems so scandalous :confused:

sparkyms
Dec 14, 2009, 01:56 PM
You're going to prison for a long long time

Sdashiki
Dec 14, 2009, 02:14 PM
If you read my post you would find that the front of the sign was the children at play. When removed from its backing, it was glued not bolted, the backside (covered with silicone glue streaks) is a sign for a BBQ restaurant.

So, my facetious question was that someone stole the BBQ sign and then had a city sign printed on the backside, which then became the front...and that why would they do such a thing and not the reverse?

:rolleyes:

barkomatic
Dec 14, 2009, 03:35 PM
Be glad the inspector took your sign. Street signs displayed as decorative objects in homes are incredibly tacky. The only thing worse is stolen traffic lights.

Sdashiki
Dec 14, 2009, 03:50 PM
Be glad the inspector took your sign. Street signs displayed as decorative objects in homes are incredibly tacky. The only thing worse is stolen traffic lights.

Um, Ive never heard of anyone stealing or using a stolen traffic light as a decoration. Not just because they require actual physical feats to obtain, but also electrical knowledge to wire up at home.

I believe what you are referring to are the children's room things from like the 1950-1980s...available from SkyMall and Spencer Gifts.

And yes, like Silver Spoons before them, its tacky.

Paisleyskye
Dec 14, 2009, 09:13 PM
I've known lots of people who have done it over the years, but I've never known any of them to actually get in trouble for it.

toxictrix
Dec 14, 2009, 09:25 PM
My friend has a "No Dumping" sign above his toilet, but that's about it.

synth3tik
Dec 14, 2009, 09:36 PM
Well taking a street sign off the street is illegal, having a street sign is not. So, depending on the sign I would have been like "What the hell man, that's not yours for the taking". If it was a particular street sign I could see it, but if it was a no parking or a stop sign, he would have had no right to take it as you can buy those in stores.


I did get caught stealing a street sign by my mother when I was like 16-17.
It was late evening one night. I was busy getting the sign off the post when I hard a car pull up fast behind me. I thought I was totally busted. Then I heard my mother, thought I was busted even worse. Then she said, "Hurry up and get that in the car before someone sees"! Awesome!

Don't panic
Dec 14, 2009, 09:49 PM
So are all street signs, whether a decade or a day old...illegal to have in your possession?

Do these things not exist outside the realm of govt municipalities and the like? Anytime I see one at a yard sale, flea market or someone else's home or establishment...I have to assume its illegal!?

Ive acquired a "Slow Children at Play" sign...all metal, 100% city grade sign. Only thing about it is the backside of it (it was glued to these busted fake wood things in the development)...it was originally for a BBQ restaurant. Has their info and hours just like any typical business sign.

one side is a BBQ restaurant...the other is "Slow Children at Play"...I cant tell you how hilarious we all thought that was when it peeled from the glue.

So tell me...is the city now stealing local biz signs and then re-purposing them for city use!? And whats the point in trying to come into my home and take it from me, city worker or not. Its not even from the state I currently reside in...but being a generic sign (albeit with the local biz info on it) whose to say.

i find this sign unnecessarily derogatory and you should be ashamed of keeping it and laugh about it.
people should be careful around children, whether they are slow or not.




;)




----

okrelayer
Dec 14, 2009, 09:49 PM
my goal is to take the sign from walmart

SkyBell
Dec 14, 2009, 09:58 PM
We've had an old "One Way" sign in our possession since as long as I can remember. I guess my parents took it back in the day or something.

Schtumple
Dec 14, 2009, 10:42 PM
Chances are whatever sign you had has already been replaced by your council anyway, so it's a pointless effort and the guy was obviously on a little power trip.

We used to have a yellow "Caution: Wet floor" cone as a door stop in our kitchen at uni halls, we found it out in the hallway and gave it a good home, a few weeks later the cleaners threatened to report us to the police if we didn't return it to wherever we found it, so we put it back in the hallway... the flat group next to us stole it within the hour.

I'm pretty sure it had circulated most of the building by the end of the year.

lostfan916
Dec 15, 2009, 12:51 AM
I found a brown sign that was broken off of a wooden stand that says "private property no public use" and has the CA bear in the corner, pretty cool. Also my friend and I noticed a No parking any time sign that was laying on the floor, next to it's pole. Snagged that one to, but it's pretty obnoxious.

barkomatic
Dec 15, 2009, 08:34 AM
Um, Ive never heard of anyone stealing or using a stolen traffic light as a decoration. Not just because they require actual physical feats to obtain, but also electrical knowledge to wire up at home.

I believe what you are referring to are the children's room things from like the 1950-1980s...available from SkyMall and Spencer Gifts.

And yes, like Silver Spoons before them, its tacky.

The person who collected the traffic lights obtained it after a storm knocked it down onto the intersection. It was huge, a four way traffic light that appeared relatively new and remarkably undamaged. I don't know how he wired it, but the lights were on. I don't think he was particulary sophisticated about getting it to light up. All of the lights were on at once--so it wasn't functioning like it would on the street. It was impressive, but I never realized how huge those things are and how out of place and ridiculous it looked in a home.

ereddie$
Aug 24, 2010, 09:30 PM
In certain states, like Kentucky, it is illegal for a private individual to even posess a street or road sign.
In other states, it is not illegal per se just to have one in your possession.
In these other states, it depends upon how you acquired the road sign and the condition of the sign.
If you took it down yourself, or someone else took it down, then it's stolen property and it's illegal if the authorities can prove you have stolen property in your possession, but I believe they must prove that you are knowingly in possession of stolen property.
If you find a sign lying along the road where it has fallen off a post and it's still in reasonable condition, it's possible the jurisdiction might want to re-install the sign, rather than install a brand new one. Better just leave it there.
If you find a road sign that a reasonable person would believe has been obviously discarded and nobody wants, then there is nothing wrong with taking it. For example, you may find old discarded bridge signs and sometimes they are still attached to the old rusty poles, but the point is, they were thrown over the side of the bridge into a creek by the state/county/township/city workers who replaced them with new signs. Or you may find another type of old sign that has outlived its usefulness that has been thrown into a ditch. These jurisdictions did not want them anymore, and they just pitched them away.
There are companies in Illinois that recycle old aluminum street/road signs and make key rings and the like from them, so it is certainly not illegal in Illinois to simply be caught in posession of one. After, all these companies are allowed to have them in their possession.

JsR
Aug 25, 2010, 01:37 PM
I didn't steal a road sign. I did, however, steal a bright orange street barrier (about 5ft big) to help jump over the wall at school at 4am to draw a 30ft penis and balls on the school field in compost in-front of the head teachers office on the third floor :D

Ttownbeast
Aug 25, 2010, 02:08 PM
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steve2112
Aug 25, 2010, 02:13 PM
Forget the common street sign. I want one of these at my house:

Edit: Wow, Ttown and I almost had a simultaneous post. I guess great (or twisted) minds think alike. :)

JsR
Aug 25, 2010, 04:45 PM
You can probably get for cheaper than the city buys them made here:

http://www.mrstreetsigns.com/?gclid=COr54r6p1aMCFeoD5QodWw4_wA

This is one of my favorite uses of street equippment though:
http://msnbcmedia4.msn.com/j/MSNBC/Components/Photo/_new/090616-barrel-monster-hmed-.grid-4x2.jpg
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31395158/

This is possibly the coolest thing I have ever seen! :eek:

iJohnHenry
Aug 25, 2010, 05:10 PM
This is possibly the coolest thing I have ever seen! :eek:

Yes, it fairly screams "GET THE *&^% OVER!!!". :)

Thomas Veil
Aug 25, 2010, 07:13 PM
I'm guessing he just tripped on the little power he has and took the sign. He's probably not going to turn it in to anyone since he doesn't even know who to turn it in to.Not likely. I know damn near everybody at my City Hall, and I guarantee you the guy in the Building Department who does the inspections knows everybody in the Streets Department and what they do.

I didn't steal a road sign. I did, however, steal a bright orange street barrier (about 5ft big) to help jump over the wall at school at 4am to draw a 30ft penis and balls on the school field in compost in-front of the head teachers office on the third floor :DThe problem with stealing a sign or a barrier is that these things are not decorative; they're there for a purpose. Barriers are of course used in construction zones. I can't recall the exact circumstances, but someone around here was either seriously injured or killed a few years back because they were driving at night and the road just ended and their car took a dive into a missing chunk of pavement and crashed into the concrete where the road resumed on the other side...all because someone thought it would be fun to steal the barrier. Who knows, maybe the guy who took it was doing a joke too.

Same thing with road signs. It could be something as innocent-looking as a speed limit sign, but if it's there because there's an obstructed view (like around a curve) where people are supposed to slow down to 20 or 25, and they're going 35 because you took the sign, they could very well hit someone they may have otherwise seen. And if someone steals a stop sign, I don't care if it's replaced a day or two later -- every hour that that sign is missing is a potentially deadly situation for anyone passing perpendicular to that intersection.

There may be few consequences of stealing street name signs other than lost travelers, but taking any kind of sign related to safety isn't just illegal, it's stupidly reckless.

nizz
Aug 25, 2010, 07:31 PM
you can get charged with a felony for stealing street signs... whether or not they enforce it depends on the area you steal it from and the cop that catches you

you should be fine though..

QuarterSwede
Aug 25, 2010, 07:36 PM
There is a street crossing sign with metal pole that was in my side yard when I bought this house that's now in my neighbors side yard ;). The only sticker on it anywhere is a dated inspection sticker from '03.

Ttownbeast
Aug 25, 2010, 10:02 PM
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