Three stop signs were vandalized Monday night (April 17) at an intersection near Ècole Deer Meadow School.
According to chief operating officer Doug Wagstaff, a town employee came across the affected stops signs on their way to work early Tuesday morning (April 18). Located at a three-way stop and pedestrian crossing at the corner of 63rd Avenue and 55th Street, all three signs were painted green and blended in with the posts to which they are attached.
The employee reported the vandalism around 7:30 a.m., and Wagstaff said the signs were replaced within the hour.
The town reported the incident to the RCMP, and posted photos on its Facebook page shortly after, along with a message advising residents to report graffiti immediately.
Wagstaff said, however, that this incident goes beyond constituting graffiti, and is a criminal offence
“It was nothing but sheer vandalism that put people’s safety at risk,” he said.
Cpl. Shawn Morgan of the Olds RCMP detachment said that the incident not only amounts to criminal mischief but is also a violation of the province’s Traffic Safety Act. According to section 111(1) it is illegal to willfully deface or alter a traffic control device. That offence carries with it a minimum $230 fine.
“That’s assuming there are no accidents that evolve as a result,” said Morgan, who added that had the mischief caused an accident or other bodily harm, it could lead to criminal negligence charges.
“What seems like a joke or an act of vandalism or whomever doing it for whatever reason they do it,” said Morgan “it can have some pretty serious implications if things go really bad.”
The RCMP is making an appeal to the public for any information that might lead to identifying the individuals responsible. Anyone who was in the area last Monday after 9:30 p.m. and before 7:30 a.m. Tuesday morning who might have seen anything suspicious is asked to report to the RCMP by calling 403-556-3324 or if they wish to remain anonymous, to call Central Alberta Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
Vandalism, graffiti and other concerns can also be reported to the Town of Olds by calling 403-556-6981.