Park County officials are warning citizens that theft of road signs could result in charges far more serious than theft.
When announcing the theft of another road sign in the area, the sheriff’s office said if accidents occur because of a stolen sign, the individual responsible could be subject to “very serious” legal consequences.
“If someone were injured or killed due to the hazard of the signs being removed the perpetrators could potentially face other charges,” Park County Attorney Bryan Skoric said.
Those charges, he said, include: manslaughter, negligent homicide, and reckless endangering.
“It may seem like a harmless prank, but the consequences of these actions can be far reaching,” Sheriff Scott Steward said, “[But] traffic signs are there for a reason, to help protect the drivers on the road.”
The department listed three legal cases where death and serious injuries resulted from areas where road signs were stolen, including a case in Florida where three teenagers died when a semi-truck hit a vehicle.
In that case, the people who stole the sign were charged with manslaughter.
“While Wyoming Law does differ from other states’ laws the possibility of a more severe charge than theft is still conceivable,” Skoric said.
Steward said the theft of road signs may seem like a “harmless prank but the consequences of these actions can be far reaching.”
The Powell Tribune reported that 22 traffic cones and two signs disappeared last December and the cost of replacing signs is more than $500 each and that doesn’t include the cost of having workers reinstall them.