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County still offering reward for information concerning stolen stop signs

A reward offer in the amount of $2,500 created around the beginning of this calendar year by the County of Emanuel for information leading to the conviction of individual/s/ connected to stolen stop signs in Oak Park still stands today.

According to District 5 Commissioner James Canady, the county included in its 2020 LMIG the purchase of two costly yet invaluable solar-powered LED stop signs to be erected at the intersection of Leman Road and JE Waters Road. Numerous wrecks have occurred at this crossing over the years and thus has proven to be extremely dangerous. As a result, the board of commissioners made the purchase as planned. The signs went up around October 2020, but they didn’t stand long. By Christmas, both signs were destroyed—sawed off by an unknown individual.

The first sign was sabotaged on December 20 or December 21 while the second sign was ruined days later on Christmas Eve.

The board of commission reacted quickly, ensuring replacement stop signs were installed. The county government also created and publicized the $2,500 reward. Today, nearly a month later, there have been no leads on the crime that simultaneously endangers the public and costs taxpayers.

Canady expressed his continued disappointment about the incident, saying, “When this situation unfolded weeks ago, I was immediately disappointed by the actions of some who destroyed or stole property that didn’t belong to them. I still am today. We’re no closer today to finding out who did this than we were back in late December.”

He continued, “This is a bad intersection. The county has to constantly replace stop signs and 911 signs, and that costs taxpayers. These two special stop signs were purchased for a specific reason, and they came with a higher price tag, around $4,000 combined, because of the LED lights. We had hoped to prevent any more bad wrecks in the area and save lives. Now that they’ve been tampered with, money has been wasted and lives are back at risk. It’s a no-win situation. If you can help catch the one responsible, contact our sheriff’s office.”

Canady also mentioned that the citizens in the area of the intersection were glad to see steps being taken to make the area safer for them as well as motorists traveling through, but the sense of hopefulness that an issue plaguing their part of the county had finally been remedied quickly changed when the signs were ruined. In response, County Administrator Guy Singletary said safety remains a top priority for the commission and the reward will stay on the table until the culprit is caught.

“The county works to improve the safety of our road systems whenever we’re able to do so,” he said. “This area in particular, because of the amount of bad accidents in recent years, was to be a test site for solar-powered, flashing stop signs. We spent a significant amount of money on those stop signs, but if they saved one life, they would’ve been worth every penny. Unfortunately, someone took it upon themselves to put the safety of our community at risk by stealing these stop signs. We need to come together as a community to stop crimes of degrading nature—littering, dumpster diving, vandalism, sign stealing and desecration. If you have any information about this intolerable act or others, call the Emanuel County Commissioner’s Office at 237-3881 and we’ll do our part to ratify the situation.”

Citizens can also relay information to Sheriff Jeffrey Brewer’s office by phone at 237-7526.

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