WASECA, Minn. (KEYC) - Several Waseca residents have had their campaign or other lawn signs stolen within the past month.
Jen Epper is one of those residents.
“Probably about three months ago, I purchased a lawn sign from South Central Minnesota Pride, and I had it probably posted about a foot outside my front yard," Epper said. “You know I was sad, to be honest. That’s the first reaction I had was why would somebody want to take down or steal that sign? Although I had heard that signs around the Waseca community have been stolen out of people’s yards, political signs or other.”
The Waseca Police Department said they have gotten several reports.
“Since Aug. 31st we have taken six reports of damaged or stolen signs. It’s very possible that there have been some more that have happened that have not been reported to us," said Captain Kris Markeson.
Markeson said some of the signs were thrown in a dumpster.
The department identified juvenile suspects involved in recent reports.
Stealing signs is considered theft under Minnesota statute since they are personal property.
“So it’s based on the value of the signs, so if it’s less than $250 it would be a misdemeanor," Markeson said.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation is also reminding Minnesotans that there are places where signs are not allowed, such as public highway rights of way.
They include driving lanes, inside and outside shoulders, ditches and sight corners at intersections.
“Some of them could be constructed to a degree that they themselves would be dangerous if a motorist hit them in what we call our clear zone. But in addition to that, more often then that, is the added distraction away from the signs we need the motorists to be seeing," said MnDOT District Seven Spokesman Rebecca Arndt.
MnDOT said landowner permission is needed before signs are placed on private property outside of the right of way.
Under state statute, advertising materials like signs are also not allowed on public utility poles and trees.