RIDGEWOOD - Officials in a North Jersey town are scrambling to replace road signs that have been repeatedly stolen.
Police say more than 75 signs, including street and stop signs, have been stolen since the beginning of August. They are urging drivers to slow down and be extra careful at intersections.
Officials say the thefts are happening during overnight hours and that the signs are disappearing faster than crews can replace them. "We'll replace a sign, drive around the block, and see three more gone," says Jim O'Connell, of the Ridgewood Traffic and Signal Department.
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The Public Works Department says it replaces signs as quickly as possible, but the thefts have caused confusion. "They don't know where to go. They don't know where to stop," says O'Connell. "They don't know which direction the road goes in. So it's a concern."
The thefts have caused a number of safety concerns. Residents are worried about the impact of missing traffic signs on children who frequent city streets with bikes and skateboards. Officials fear that ambulance drivers unfamiliar with the area could have trouble finding their destination due to missing street signs.
A street sign or stop sign costs between $40 and $50 to make, but officials estimate the total cost to replace the stolen signs is more than $3,000, not including labor.
Police are asking the public to report any missing signs in their neighborhood.