Stop! 3 charged for theft of signs

Published 9:35 am Thursday, August 26, 2010

*Editor’s note: The following story originally defined the signs as “Stop” signs; however, they were identified Thursday as “road construction” signs. The Star-New apologizes for the confusion and is happy to set the record straight.

The stealing of numerous road signs from the Loango community landed three Carolina men in jail Tuesday.

Sheriff Dennis Meeks said the thefts were brought to law enforcement’s attention by a local recycling plant.

Plant employees called with suspicions that the signs, allegedly brought in by Derek Huckabaa and Timothy Wayne Capers, both 21, and Gary Watson, 20, were stolen.

“The deputies did determine that the signs were indeed stolen, and a (county) engineer’s office employee identified them,” Meeks said. “Employees at the plant also identified Mr. Huckabaa as the man who sold them, as well as his two companions.”

Meeks said deputies traveled to Huckabaa’s Starlight Lane home, where they found several more signs in his yard.

In an effort to locate Huckabaa, Meeks said deputies began patrolling the local area.

“Deputies then found him traveling on Rock Hole Bridge Road, where when he was stopped, deputies found metal sign posts hanging out the back of his truck,” he said.

Meeks said Huckabaa confessed to stealing the signs and was charged with third-degree theft of property and violation of probation.

It was determined that while his companions were not present when the signs were stolen, they were present when they were sold to the local recycling plant, Meeks said.

As a result, both Capers and Watson have been charged with third-degree receiving stolen property and were held on a $3,000 bond.

“Stealing road signs might seem like fun and games, but it can have some very real consequences,” Meeks said.

“It causes road hazards and dangerous driving conditions, and it could cause an accident that could take someone’s life.”