Recent thefts of road signs within the Lufkin District has prompted the Texas Department of Transportation to remind the public that removing a road sign or speed limit sign is against the law. Under Texas law, a person who commits theft means taking something that does not belong to you without consent or any legal justification, or “unlawfully appropriates property with intent to deprive the owner of the property.” (Tex. Penal Code 31.03)
Road signs, including speed limit signs, directional signs, and highway or road designations, are the property of the state of Texas. It is a theft offense beginning with a Class C misdemeanor, depending on the value of the sign. According to the Texas Penal Code, classifications and penalties for misdemeanor thefts include:
- Class C Theft: Less than $50 in value is punishable by a fine up to $500.Class B Theft: More than $50 but less than $500 in value is punishable by a fine up to $2,000 and jail confinement of up to 180 days. Class A Theft: More than $500 but less than $1,500 in value is punishable by a fine up to $4,000 and jail confinement of up to one year.
A State Jail Felony theft occurs when the property is valued at more than $1,500 but less than $20,000 and is punishable of a fine up to $10,000 and jail confinement from 180 days up to two years.
“We hope good citizens will be aware of anyone removing road signs and alert the proper law enforcement agency if they do see something suspicious,” said Rhonda Oaks, public information officer with the Lufkin District. “It can be very dangerous for the traveling public when a stop sign or yield sign is taken from the roadway. We urge everyone to use caution, be alert and please call a TxDOT office if you notice a road sign missing.”
- Rhonda Oaks is the Public Information Officer for the nine-county Lufkin District of the Texas Department of Transportation. A Lufkin native, she is a graduate of Hudson High School and Angelina College. She has a background in print journalism and worked for many years as a newspaper reporter and a freelance writer. She has received eight Associated Press awards. Her articles have been published in many publications over the past 25 years.