WILLMAR — More than 35 public works street signs and a construction barrel were recovered this week by the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office.
Several juveniles and young adults are likely to face charges of theft and criminal damage to property, according to a news release from the Sheriff’s Office.
On Tuesday, the Kandiyohi County Public Works Department had opened a seven-day window for people to turn the signs in to avoid prosecution.
According to the Sheriff’s Office release, investigators recovered dozens of signs and the construction barrel Wednesday. The seizures followed interviews and searches of several homes.
County Public Works Director Mel Odens told the County Board this week that stealing signs is not a harmless prank.
"It is not the cost of the sign, but the cost of someone's life," which concerned the county staff, he said.
Each sign costs about $150 to make and install, but the primary concern is the possibility of crashes at intersections where traffic control signs have been taken.
The signs stolen included stop, stop ahead and yield signs and others advising motorists of a detour or bridge restriction. Most thefts have been in the northeastern part of the county, and Meeker County has also reported stolen signs across the county line in that area.
The investigation is ongoing, according to the release. Anyone with information about other missing signs is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office tip line at 320-214-6700, ext. 6718.