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Speed limit signs like this one on Fremont Road in Epping have been disappearing around town along with other street signs. (Jason Schreiber/Union Leader Correspondent)

Epping, Raymond police probe disappearance of signs

EPPING — Authorities are investigating the disappearance of more than two dozen street signs in Epping over the past month.

"We put new ones up and all of a sudden they disappear," Road Agent Dave Reinhold said Monday.

Reinhold said both street and speed limit signs have vanished around town.

"It's all over. We're probably missing 25 to 30 signs. Hopefully, someone will notice them out in the woods and we'll get them back," he said.

While sign thefts occur on occasion, Reinhold said this is the most he's ever seen stolen around the same time.

Epping police are investigating.

Street sign thefts have been a problem in nearby Raymond as well.

According to Raymond police, 17 signs have disappeared since August when police first received calls about missing signs in the area of Batchelder and Lane roads.

Raymond police said the theft reports included street signs, stop signs and town line marker signs from all areas of town. The total loss in Raymond is close to $1,000.

Police haven't linked the sign thefts from both towns, but Raymond Police Chief David Salois said it "sounds like a connection."

He said their case remains under investigation and there have been no arrests.

Raymond police warned residents to remain on the lookout and said that if any maintenance is needed on town signs, the Raymond Highway Department typically conducts that work during the day in a marked vehicle. Anyone who sees someone tampering with the signs is urged to call police.

At a selectmen's meeting last week, Epping Selectman Robert Jordan asked residents to be observant and encouraged them to call police if they see anyone "scoping or stalking" street signs.

"They're not cheap to replace. They also serve a purpose, getting ambulances and fire personnel to emergencies if necessary," Jordan said.

Reinhold said the signs cost between $25 and $40, depending on size.

At this point, he said the cost to replace the stolen signs will have to be included in the highway department's new budget proposal.

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