Insufficient evidence

·3 min read

A set of stolen street signs across Ridgetown has been located and recovered.

According to Pat Bates, municipal works supervisor, he has noticed a significant increase in vandalized and stolen signs across town.

Recently, a male party took to social media to showcase his many stolen street signs from across Ridgetown.

Thanks to this post, the individual who was in possession of the signs was identified, and the signs have been recovered.

A local anonymous person noticed the post of a male individual posing with more than two dozen stolen signs and sent a tip to Bates.

The anonymous person emailed Bates a photo from Snapchat showing an individual posing for a photo with more than two dozen stolen signs from across the municipality.

Bates confirmed he had received the tip, and he then called the Chatham-Kent Police.

Bates also said two of the signs were found behind the dairy barn on the Ridgetown campus and were delivered by an employee of the college back to him.

“It’s a good start but still doesn’t solve the problem,” said Bates. “We spent a lot of money this year on signs, posts, and hardware. We’ve already replaced all of these, some of them three times.”

Bates said there is a major labour cost associated with replacing the stolen signs.

The municipal works supervisor said this isn’t the first time signs have been stolen. He added that he tracked the signs being stolen two years ago and was blown away by how much it cost to replace them.

“We tracked it, and there was $50,000 that we spent on sign vandalism here in the shop alone,” he said.

Bates explained that if a stop sign is stolen, two people have to go out because they have to work together for safety reasons. If a sign must be replaced on a Sunday, the two workers are getting paid three hours at double time.

“So now you’re basically into 12 hours of pay to put a sign up,” he said. “You’re putting the sign up, replacing the four by four, and you’re running the truck out there. It’s not hard to get into a whole bunch of money.”

While the bill is costly to replace the signs, Bates said the much more serious issue regarding the stolen signs is safety.

“It’s dangerous. That’s an even bigger issue, not just money, but safety. Downed stop signs can cause people to get killed,” said Bates.

According to Sgt. Lynette Hodder, Public Information Officer for the Chatham-Kent Police Service, police began an investigation into stolen street signs in Ridgetown on April 13. She said police were provided with a social media post of a young man posing with approximately 20 street signs.

On April 14, through investigation, police were able to recover 30 signs.

“There was insufficient evidence to proceed with criminal charges in this matter,” said Hodder.

Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News

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