Fordyce Heights resident Mark Schilke is at his wit's end.

A senior citizen in New Milford, Mr. Schilke is concerned about the welfare of himself and the eight other senior couples who have homes on his road.

The road sign for Fordyce Heights keeps being stolen, Mr. Schilke said, and because the road is a private one, the residents have to fight to get the town to replace it, he said.

"All nine houses on the road are owned by taxpayers," Mr. Schilke said. "The sign sits on town property. We have elderly people on this road and, if they are severely ill and an ambulance can't find them, it will be terrible."

The town's Director of Public Works, Mike Zarba, said last week stolen road signs are a big problem in town. Over the last few weeks, hundreds of signs have been stolen -- most of them having been taken on the east side of town.

"I can only refer the folks at Fordyce Heights to the police," Mr. Zarba said. "They may be able to find the perpetrator who keeps taking the sign."

With 400 to 500 private roads in New Milford, the total is some 800 to 1,000 road signs for private roads, Mr. Zarba said. Property owners on private roads are required by town ordinance to keep road signs up at their own expense, he said.

Road signs can range from $30 to $40 for the sign itself, he said. If a stop sign is stolen, that can cost $150 to $200 to replace.

"You can hard-mount the sign to the top of the sign post," Mr. Zarba suggested, "but we've found people will hook a chain to the sign post and rip the whole post out if they can't just remove the sign from the post. You could be creating more potential for damage by hard-mounting."

Mr. Zarba said he was surprised to hear a Fordyce Heights road sign keeps being stolen. Usually the signs that are taken are "catchy" or have the first or last names of people on them, he said.

-- Susan Tuz