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Dewey Beach's welcome sign stolen

Cape Gazette of Lewes, Delaware

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Hand-carved wood plaque gone since Labor Day

Dewey Beach is famous for being a way of life - it's fun day or night; beach, bay or restaurant.

The life also includes alcohol-related petty crime, which has recently included the stealing of the town's hand-carved wooden welcome sign.

Located in the median, at the intersection of Routes 1 and 1A, the sign cheerfully welcomed to that famous way of life. The sign shows what could be a rising or setting sun, with a couple of sailboats, some seagulls and a beach umbrella.

Dewey Beach Mayor Diane Hanson said Oct. 20 she hadn't noticed the sign was missing until it was recently pointed out to her.

"It's really just sad someone would steal the sign so they can decorate their dorm room with it," said Hanson, noticeably frustrated. She said replacing the sign would cost the town $3,000 to $4,000.

Town employees Ashleigh Hudson and Mary Dunmyer had refurbished the weathered sign earlier this summer, bringing back its bright colors.

Hudson, the town clerk, said she and Dunmyer, assistant to the town manager, brought in craft paint from home and spent about an hour bringing new life to the sign.

Hudson said she noticed the sign was missing a couple days after the Labor Day weekend.

"We weren't happy about it," she said.

Sgt. Cliff Dempsey, Dewey Beach Police spokesman, said the department has reviewed the tape from the street camera located directly above the sign, but nothing was found because the sign was out of view of the camera.

Town officials could probably train the cameras on the sign, but then it would be missing other areas, said Dempsey.

"It's one of those thefts that's more of a nuisance," said Dempsey.

Dempsey said he's sure someone is displaying the sign somewhere they think it won't be seen by the general public. He said he hopes a little publicity will let people know to call the police if they do see the sign.

Hudson said the town plans to replace the sign. Part of which, she said, is coming up with a way to make the sign more secure, so it doesn't get up and walk off again in the middle of the night.

Anyone with information on the sign's whereabouts can call the Dewey Beach Police Department at 227-1110.



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Original Publication Date: October 23, 2015



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