Officials say theft of ‘420’ road signs no laughing matter

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PLEASANT VIEW, Utah – “420” can be used as a street code name for marijuana, and it is also a date--April 20 --and time--4:20--that pot smoking enthusiasts use to celebrate the drug. But it’s also become a popular practice for thieves to steal the mile marker 420 signs off roadways, including one on US-89 in northern Utah.

“There’s really nothing they can do. People can just keep stealing the signs,” said Ryan Martinez, who is an Ogden resident.

The signs cost roughly $100 to replace. Lisa Miller with the Utah Department of Transportation says US-89 is the only state highway that has a mile post 420.

She said while it hasn’t been as big of an issue to replace the sign as it has been in other states, it’s still a concern.

“It’s theft, and even if people think that it’s a funny thing to do, it’s certainly not desirable,” Miller said. “And, if it becomes a chronic problem, it’s something we would work with law enforcement to see if we could minimize.”

Recently, the states of Washington, Colorado and Idaho started putting up mile marker 419. 9 signs instead, hoping to ward off thieves from taking the 420 signs.

“It seems like a good solution,” Miller said. “You’re creating the sign regardless of what numbers are on it. If it’s a sign that’s less likely to be stolen, I think it’s probably a good way to go.”

Miller says maintenance workers constantly monitor areas where road signs are stolen and replace them as needed. But she reminds Utah residents it costs taxpayer money to replace them and because of that, it's no laughing matter.

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