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Sign snatchers strike again, taking advantage of post-Hurricane Irma destruction so they can have a piece of Florida Keys memorabilia.
Days after the “Welcome to Key West” sign was returned — stolen right after the Sept. 10-11 Category 4 storm left the island chain — thieves absconded with the welcome sign to the Upper Keys historic district of Tavernier — the only other historic district in the Keys outside of Key West.
Specifically, the large wooden sign on the northbound side of U.S 1 at mile marker 91 at the end of the Tavernier Creek Bridge is gone. It was blown off its post during Irma, but volunteers leaned it up right until it could be reposted. It disappeared over the weekend.
“If someone knows where it is and who took it, we’d really like it back,” said Jerry Wilkinson, president of the Tavernier Community Association.
“The sign’s in good condition,” Wilkinson said. “We just rebuilt it about a year ago. We took both the north and south signs down and repainted them.”
The sign is four feet tall and about eight feet wide, and Wilkinson said it weighs about 200 pounds, so he theorizes one person didn’t just see it there and decide to run off with it.
“It would take at least two or three people to carry it off or load it into a vehicle,” Wilkinson said. “Somebody made a conscious effort to get it.”
Nevertheless, Wilkinson said if the sign is returned, there will be no questions asked. He said anyone with information about where it may be can call him at (305) 896-6526.
The “Welcome to Key West” sign was also knocked over by Irma and taken by someone or several people. A couple, who have not been identified, brought the sign to the Key West Express Ferry terminal in Fort Myers Beach. The ferry crew brought it to Key West and handed it over to Southernmost City police.