The Signal

Serving the College since 1885

Sunday November 28th

Over 30 street signs stolen in Ewing area, Ewing Police Department seeking students’ help

<p><em>Over 30 street signs have been stolen from the local Ewing area since August, and Campus Police and the Ewing Police Department are working together to return them (Sean Leonard / News Editor).</em></p>

Over 30 street signs have been stolen from the local Ewing area since August, and Campus Police and the Ewing Police Department are working together to return them (Sean Leonard / News Editor).

By Alessia Contuzzi
Staff Writer

More than 30 street signs have been stolen from the Ewing Park and Brae Burn neighborhoods since August, affecting the response time of emergency services and costing a lot of money to replace. The Ewing Police Department is working alongside Campus Police in hopes of locating the signs and returning them to the community. 

Ewing Police reached out to the College because these crimes took place in the neighborhoods off of Green Lane where many students reside. In an email sent on Nov. 1 by Chief of Campus Police Timothy Grant, students were notified about the crimes and offered amnesty with no questions asked if they returned any signs by Nov. 10. Students were previously offered amnesty by the Campus Police during another search for stolen property on campus, and the property was successfully returned. So, the Ewing Police Department agreed to offer amnesty in this situation.

“We heard that there were a large number of thefts taking place on the TCNJ campus early in the semester, possibly related to a social media challenge, and that the administration was offering amnesty to students in order to recover items that were stolen,” Sergeant Richard Herbe of the Ewing Police Department said. “They had previously done something similar with the thefts of Adirondack chairs on campus and had success in recovering some of the chairs. They offered to communicate with the students that we were willing to offer amnesty in order to recover the stolen street signs, which we agreed to.” 

The charge for stolen property to this extent can exceed the threshold for a disorderly persons offense and result in a criminal record, according to Grant. Since the email announcement, a total of 10 signs were returned to Campus Police under amnesty. There are no leads for the remaining 20, but there was an arrest for a theft in progress. 

Many students have strong opinions on these crimes and hope that they are quickly resolved. Raising awareness of the dangers that missing street signs and other stolen property pose in the community should encourage students to stop joking about serious matters. 

“This makes me feel astonished that so many people are willing to deface public property. Those are crucial signs that were stolen; [it] could lead to accidents among drivers,” freshman health and exercise science major Adriana Pagnillo said. “I think individuals probably stole these signs as a joke. They didn’t think through the consequences. They probably thought it would be a funny thing to do and bring back to their home with them.” 

“Students do know the true consequences of stealing property, I think they just don't care enough,” freshman undeclared in the school of arts & communication Sterling Nowka said. “They don’t care about property nor the others who live in this town. It is very heartbreaking to hear all of this, [and] I hope this can be resolved soon.” 

Students are encouraged to work with Campus Police and the Ewing Police Department to locate these signs and understand the consequences of stealing or destroying property on both the personal and community levels. 

“We are a community, inclusive of the College. Whether you live in Ewing full-time or only for school, it is important for everyone to show respect for the community as well as the property of others and encourage others to do so,” Herbe said. “It appears that there is an acceptance for things like stealing street signs or damaging mailboxes, and that shouldn’t be. Students are keenly aware that if they are going to use a rideshare service that they need to take certain steps for their safety and their friend's safety, and anyone would speak up if they saw another student carelessly putting themselves in a dangerous situation. They shouldn’t hesitate to speak up in the same way when they see them doing something like stealing a street sign.” 

Missing street signs greatly affect emergency services as it causes a longer response time to crucial situations. It impacts full-time residents, off-campus houses and even students on-campus, which is why their return is so urgent. 

“We have had situations where students have left a party with their phone not charged in severe weather and then become lost,” Herbe said. “This adds a significant amount of time to our efforts to locate a missing person, in an area they are unfamiliar with, and [have] no way to orient themselves. Regardless of the purpose or intentions of anyone committing these thefts, there are real consequences.” 

Students can encourage anyone they know who is in possession of stolen property to return it or contact Ewing Township Police at 609-882-1313 or Campus Police at 609-771-2345 with any information about stolen property.


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