By Chris Edwards
HOUSTON COUNTY – The Houston County maintenance office of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reported on Monday that several signs have been stolen.
A TxDOT bulletin posted on social media reported that at least 22 TxDOT signs have been stolen from along FM 2022 in Houston County.
While some individuals see road signs as fodder for their garage or dorm room walls, stealing or vandalizing signs is illegal, and according to TxDOT can result in serious consequences for motorists, as signs can communicate important information regarding road closures, construction zone particulars and other conditions on the roads.
Stop signs, for example, are popular targets for sign thieves, and if motorists are not familiar with intersections where stop signs are installed, the likelihood of collisions increase if the signs are gone.
Absent from the potential safety issues, it costs taxpayers millions of dollars, statewide, to replace signs, including ones vandalized with spray-paint or damaged by gunshots.
According to TxDOT, damaging, destroying, or stealing state property or state traffic control devices including road signs is a Class C misdemeanor if the damage is less than $100; a Class B misdemeanor if the damage is between $100 and $750; a Class A misdemeanor if the damage is between $750 and $2,500.
The Class A crime is punishable by up to $4,000 in fines and up to one year in jail. If the damage is between $2,500 and $20,000, the crime is a state jail felony and is punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and between 180 days and two years in state jail.
TxDOT’s Houston County office is urging anyone with knowledge of the theft to contact its office at 936-544-2264 or the Houston County Sheriff’s Office at 936-544-2862.