Handicapped sign thefts safety issue

Four handicapped crossing signs have been stolen in recent weeks in the Pleasant Grove Road area, costing the county money and potentially jeopardizing the safety of wheelchair-bound residents.

“We are doing our part. We are putting the signs up. Someone keeps taking them down,” said District One Supervisor Reverend Jerry Wilson Tuesday.

In an unsigned letter to the editor, a resident on Pleasant Grove Road encouraged The Daily Leader to investigate the matter. “These are severely handicapped people. What if it was your family,” she wrote. In an effort to get to the facts, the citizen said she had talked to neighbors, who in turn asked their teenagers about the incidents.

Although The Daily Leader does not run unsigned letters, the reader’s questions did lead to a call to county officials. Pleasant Grove Road borders District One and District Three, thus the road is within the areas of both Supervisor Wilson and District Three Supervisor Nolan Williamson.

According to Ryan Holmes, who works with Dungan Engineering, sign destruction or theft is a fact of life in the county.

“Unfortunately, it’s something that happens. “The damage to signs, bullet holes, theft … sadly, it’s a common occurrence. We anticipate it happening in the budget.”

In the case of a handicapped crossing sign, though, Holmes says his firm and the county move as quickly as possible. “We all make an effort to replace those as soon as possible,” Holmes. “We understand their importance to the community.”

“If we have the sign in stock, we can get it replaced usually in a day,” Holmes said.

While signs of various sorts are often vandalized and stolen, the taking of the handicapped crossing signs has left officials wondering.

“Who knows who would want a sign like that,” said Wilson.