So you’re here because you want to learn how to steal a street sign. Well, we’re here to say… maybe don’t? Did you know that there have been people charged with manslaughter and sentenced to 15 years in prison for street sign theft, following the deaths of children at an intersection they stole a ‘Stop’ sign from? What’s more, stealing street signs is much harder than you might think.
At the end of the day, you’re only making your community look uglier, and be more dangerous to both pedestrians and traffic, so please reconsider your plans.
The only time it might be acceptable to take down a street sign (though remember, ‘acceptable’ is subjective, and doesn’t mean ‘legal’), is if you’re planning to steal an informational sign or place name from somewhere that doesn’t need it anymore – such as an abandoned housing project.
If you’re looking to take down a sign no longer in use, you can follow our instructions below to do so.
Remember: This is an illegal act, and if you’re caught, you could go to jail.
Table of Contents
How to steal a disused street sign
- Ensure you have a monkey wrench (or two), some WD40, a flathead screwdriver, a helper, maybe even a stool or ladder, and a torch
- Best to take down the sign at night, because this act is illegal and you don’t want to get caught, so wait until it’s dark and ensure you wear dark clothes
- Locate the nuts and screws on the back of the street sign, and pour some WD40 all over them, then leave the WD40 to do its work for five (5) minutes
- Come back to the sign, and use the monkey wrench(es) and flathead screwdriver to undo the nuts and screws (working bottom to top) on the back of the street sign
- Note: If the nuts and screws won’t budge, repeat step 3
- Remove the nuts and screws, and then the sign, and get out of there as quickly and surreptitiously as you can
Remember: We highly recommend you leave street signs alone. They’re there for a reason, and that reason is to protect the lives and community of those around you.
If you have any further questions or need more fuel for thought, see our FAQs below.
Is it legal to steal a street sign?
It is almost certainly not legal to steal a street-sign, no matter what kind of sign it is or where in the world you are. The key’s in the question, right? “Steal”. Theft is illegal all around the world where the concept of property and state-ownership exist, and theft of state property such as road signs and street signs is most definitely illegal.
There are plenty of us out there who bend and break the law in our own ways every day; whether it’s smoking something that’s illegal in your country, but legal in others, driving a little above the speed limit, or burning flags. There are laws out there which plenty of us deem possible to break without hurting or upsetting anyone unduly.
Perhaps you’re here because you think stealing a street sign is harmless fun, perhaps you disagree with the state or the law in general, perhaps you want to inflict confusion and hurt. Whatever brought you here, it’s important to know that stealing street signs can cause serious injury and even death. It’s also a waste of taxpayers’ money, which would be spent to replace the sign when it could be spent elsewhere, such as in hospitals and schools.
Will you get in trouble for stealing a street sign?
If you get caught, which there is a high chance you will, then yes it is highly likely that you’re going to get in trouble for stealing a street sign. If it’s your first offense, you might get off with a fine, perhaps community service. However, jail time is not unheard of for stealing street signs.
Reasons you shouldn’t steal a street sign
Still convinced you want to steal a street sign? Here are a few things to think about:
- Back in 1997, three youngsters in the US were sentenced to fifteen (15) years in state prison for stealing a stop sign at a busy highway. They were charged with manslaughter following the deaths of three teens who were run down on that same highway by a car who was unaware of the need to stop.
- There is a financial consequence tied to the theft of road and street signs and the money is most likely to come out of your pocket, either as a taxpayer or if you’re forced to pay a fine for the theft.
- You’re likely to get caught, no matter how ‘smart’ you are. Even if you manage to drag the (much bigger than you’d think) street sign back home, all it takes to get caught is for one dumb friend to take a photo of you and post it on Instagram; take a TikTok of the theft happening; or Snapchat the events as they occur. The wrong person sees that and you’ll be reported to the police in an instant.
- Ultimately, you’re just defacing the community you live in, or the community of other people. Stealing street signs is a stupid, thoughtless act which benefits no-one and which, honestly, will only remain fun for you for a moment. The novelty of having that street sign in your house or apartment will surely wear off before long. Your theft, at the end of the day, could endanger other people, and make your community a worse place to live.