The new “Welcome to Eldersburg” sign, first erected in February, was stolen earlier this week.  It was first noticed missing on Tuesday, and may have been stolen Monday night.

Monday night or early Tuesday morning is also the time frame that 32 wheels worth a total of $35,000 turned up missing from Jeff Barnes Chevrolet, less than a block away from the sign’s location at the intersection of Routes 32 and 26.  It seems April Fool’s Day came early this year.

As for the sign, Ross Dangel of the FACC was notified on Tuesday that it was missing, and he contacted the police. It was evident that whoever took the sign used tools to remove the 3” lag screws holding the sign to the posts.  While Dangel was reporting the crime to a Sheriff’s deputy, they walked to a nearby patch of trees and brush where Dangel had recently seen some youth emerge.  “I thought it was interesting that such a number of kids would go into an area full of sticker bushes,” Dangel recalls.

Dangel and the Deputy found the sign in the woods near Fleming Oil, partially covered with branches and debris, but with little damage.  Dangel says the sign will be up again soon, with “vandal-proof hardware, a light and an embedded GPS transponder.”

The deputy questioned the youth, who were still nearby.  Dangel went to a nearby store and asked if they could keep the sign in there until it could be re-installed.

When the sign first went up, some residents seemed chagrined by the location – an undeveloped corner surrounded by a chain link fence.  Dangel said that he had proposed other locations, but the state would not allow them.   Signs have to be set back a certain distance from the road.  “I’m not the property owner, so I can’t do anything about that fence,” Dangel said.

On the other hand, the empty lot looks better now than the old buildings that were there a few years ago, which were eventually demolished.

For those who are voicing complaints about this issue and others affecting Eldersburg, Dangel says that they should “come to FACC meetings and help make a difference!”

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