Stolen Stop Signs

Ordinarily, the small town of Noma controls its traffic with 20 stop signs, but right now five of those signs are missing, torn off the stop sign post or pulled out, post and all.

"I think that's someone who's either retarded or up to a lot of mischief," says Mayor Robert Skipper.

The stop sign right in front of City Hall seems to be the least respected of the town's 20 signs. It's been taken at least three times.

"It makes people very angry and it's very costly to replace these and the town doesn't have the kind of money to replace them."

Mayor Robert Skipper is so upset by the stolen signs that he's offering a $500 reward for information leading to the culprit or culprits.

$500 is what the town will have to pay to replace the stolen signs. There is no price break for five signs, but the mayor isn't just concerned about cost. Confusion at what's supposed to be four-way intersections is not safe.

"It may save the life of some innocent person, coming right through here and not knowing to stop where they're supposed to stop and run out in front of a car or something like that."

Mayor Skipper's scenario is not far-fetched. Consider the 1997 case of three south Florida teens convicted of manslaughter for taking a stop sign. Three other teens died after unknowingly running the missing stop sign and getting into the path of a truck.

The three convicted teens were sentenced to 15 years in prison back in 1997.


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