Football sign thefts a prank by high school students

TOLONO — The theft of nearly three-dozen Unity Rocket signs from area residents' yards was apparently a prank committed by students from a rival school.

And even though police have retrieved the signs, owners will have to wait to reclaim them.

According to Tolono Police Chief Richard Raney, the yard signs started to disappear Aug. 11-12. About six victims reported the crime to the police.

"Several people were calling saying, 'We want you to be aware of it,'" Raney said.

On Aug. 16, police received a telephone call from a woman in Tuscola who identified her son as one of those responsible for the thefts. Raney said there were four other high-school-aged juveniles involved in the thefts.

"We ended up recovering 33 signs," Raney said.

Police found the signs in a shed on the property of one of the juveniles' relatives. There they also found similar signs from Villa Grove.

All five suspects have been interviewed.

"They were saying they did it mainly for a prank," Raney said.

The Tolono police will send a report to the state's attorney's office, which will determine whether or not any charges will be filed against the teens.

"We will return the signs to the rightful owners," Raney said.

Because the investigation is ongoing, victims wanting to recover their stolen signs should wait until the end of next week to contact the Tolono Police Department at 485-8040.

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UIUCHoopFan wrote on August 21, 2013 at 10:08 am

Looks to me as if the Tuscola football team will be short by 5 players this season.  The word "prank" is synonymous with "theft" in this case.  Community service instead of Friday Night Lights for these pranksters!