Thursday, October 27, 2011
County goes after sign vandals
By SUE WATSON
Two suspects have been arrested and charged with destroying Marshall County road name signs after surveillance of the area, sheriff Kenny Dickerson said.
He said investigators in his department are making every effort to catch suspects in the act of taking down road signs, yield signs and stop signs. Citizens have been complaining and reporting the destruction, and the problem has been long-standing, according to the board of supervisors. The taxpayer is the one who has to pay for replacement, $131 a pop for road name signs and about $85 each for traffic signs, not including labor costs.
Dickerson said surveillance of a road name sign at Mill Road and Do Road, where many were being vandalized or taken down, revealed two men September 23 in the act of destroying the sign with a baseball bat.
“Our cameras paid off and we have photos of two individuals beating a sign with a baseball bat,” he said. “We questioned them and showed them photos of themselves and they admitted destroying the signs.”
Arrested and charged with malicious mischief in destruction of county property were Daniel Clifton Teel, 21, of the 6400 block of Highway 311, Holly Springs, and Weston Neal Robins, 21, of the 3500 block of Neyland Cove, Collierville, Tenn.
In a case where the destruction of a county property exceeds $500 in value, a person can be charged with a felony crime, Dickerson said.
“We are pushing this to the maximum of the law,” the sheriff said regarding destruction of road name signs and traffic signs. “When a sign is missing, fire department and emergency response teams may not be able to find an address area quickly during an emergency such as an accident, a house fire, or other emergency. Our deputies responding to a 911 call also may be delayed if they cannot easily find a road sign.”
Dickerson said taking down yield and stop signs endangers the driving public as well and can cause accidents.
In another matter, deputies received a call Saturday, Sept. 15, from Aberdeen authorities, saying they had a man who had run out of gas and then caused a stir and dispute during the process of getting gas. Sheriff’s deputies were aware of a stolen vehicle report taken between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Dickerson said a Holly Springs man had parked his blue Ford Ranger 4x4, extended cab, on the side of the highway near the West Holly Springs Exit and gone into the woods to hunt and when he returned his pickup was gone.
Sheriff’s department investigators travelled to Aberdeen and picked up the suspect, Jermaine Simmons, 30, of the 3200 block of Arlington in Memphis, Tenn. He was arrested and charged with grand larceny. Dickerson said. Simmons had several convictions in the Memphis area for stealing vehicles. If convicted, Simmons could face a 10-year sentence for grand larceny in this case, the sheriff said.
In a rash of burglaries of outdoor air conditioner units at churches in the Red Banks Road and Highway 72 area, the sheriff said burglars have been chopping up air conditioner units on site to get the copper cores. He asked citizens to call Crime Stoppers (1-800-729-2169) to report any information that may be useful in identifying the suspect(s) and their subsequent arrest and conviction. A Crime Stoppers’ reward will be offered.
The sheriff also asked citizens to continue to report missing road signs and repeated vandalism of rural mail boxes to his department or to their district supervisor.
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