by Todd Wellington

State police have been called in to investigate the theft of at least 20 newly installed road signs in the Pudding Hill and Vail Hill areas of Lyndon sometime during the weekend.

"Senseless, destructive vandalism" was how Lyndon Municipal Assistant David Dill described the sign-stealing spree. "These thieves obviously have no respect for the residents of Lyndon," he said.

The strong response from Dill and other town officials is due to the fact the signs were purchased and installed with more than just convenience and aesthetics in mind.

They are part of the forthcoming Enhanced 911 emergency response system and were installed specifically to allow fire, police, and rescue crews to quickly find the location in which emergency service is needed.

"Obviously, the signs need to be there to be useful," said Fire Chief Greg Hopkins.

An outraged Dill pointed to both the negative impact on emergency services of the thefts as well as the negative impact on the town pocketbook. "These signs were not given to us; our taxpayers bought them," he said.

The cost of replacing the signs could be steep, at about $45 per sign. Dill promised to seek "full restitution for the total cost to replace the signs."

Bruce James, chairman of selectmen, pointed to a new town ordinance that calls for a fine of $500 per stolen sign. "We will find out who stole these signs and make them pay heavily," said James.

The thieves made off with street signs from Eliot Road, Stark Road, Pudding Hill Road, Airport Road, Dolly's Road, Young Farm Road, Vail Drive, Cotton Road, Snowflake Lane, Calista Avenue, Speedwell Drive, Valley Lane, College Road, Lower Campus Drive, Wind Dance Lane, Chocolate Moose Lane, and Ridge Top Lane.

Town officials ask that anyone with information about the missing signs please contact Crime Stoppers at 748-2222.

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