City sees an ‘uptick’ in number of signs stolen from Crystal Beach

Matt Algarin
City officials tell The Log Cobia Street is the most stolen roadway sign so far this year, followed by Luke Avenue.

We’ve all seen restaurants, bars and perhaps some of our childhood friend’s walls or dorm rooms adorned with street signs bearing their names.

And like clockwork, each spring break season the city of Destin sees a variety of street signs stolen in the Crystal Beach neighborhood, which has signs with common names such as Luke, John and Matthew. As part of the city’s weekly report, it was noted that the thefts have been exceptionally heavy this year and staff was “struggling” to keep up with the number of stolen signs.

As of Monday, city officials told The Log there have been 20 signs stolen so far this season. Normally at this point, the city says about 5 signs are typically pilfered, so the increase is noticeable.

“It’s an uptick,” said Webb Warren, the city’s information technology manager.

Warren says the city keeps an extra supply of street signs on hand for situations like this, or if signs are damaged for other reasons and must be replaced.

“What we’ve learned in the past is that the signs in Crystal Beach are the most popular,” he said.

And it’s not only street signs that people are taking. Warren told The Log they have had a total of three stop signs and several “no parking” signs taken.

Both the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office and the city’s code enforcement officers have increased their patrols in the Crystal Beach area to help combat the thefts.

Warren said the city would file a police report if someone were caught stealing one of its street signs.

Michele Nicholson from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office told The Log that stealing street signs could be charged with theft, petty theft or even vandalism, depending on the situation.

Here’s a breakdown of the pilfered signs, as reported by the city of Destin.

Cobia Street: 5

Luke Avenue: 4

John Avenue: 3

Stingray Street: 1

Scenic Hwy. 98: 1

Pompano Street: 1

Crystal Beach Drive: 1

Stop signs: 3

No Parking Signs: Several