14 road signs vandalized with offensive language, swastikas in Bartholomew County

BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY, Ind. -- More than a dozen street signs are vandalized with offensive language and hateful words overnight in Bartholomew County.

Investigators are now asking for the public's help catching the suspect responsible for the crime.

Around 12:30 a.m. Friday morning, deputies were called to the 8000 block of 550 W on a report of a speed limit sign with vandalism. They arrived and found 14 road signs covered with black paint.

"We take this serious.  It makes the public uneasy to see this stuff happen," said Bartholomew County sheriff chief deputy Chris Lane.

The graffiti included offensive symbols like Nazi Swastikas and the letters WP for white power, as well as profanity and genitals.

"With that type graffiti on the signs it throws up a level of concern when there’s a swastika on a road sign because we obviously don’t want that in our community," said Lane.

The Bartholomew County Sheriff's Department says a dark-colored truck was reported dropping off someone in the area and later, a white truck picked the same person up and drove away.

The roads in the area where the signs were damaged just west of Columbus are not heavily traveled, but investigators say the spray paint is a public safety concern.

"Obviously road signs are put there for a reason, to let drivers know what to expect, to yield or stop. There’s a public safety risk when they’re painted over that motorists may not know what to expect as they travel down the road," said Lane.

“This isn’t just a matter of the cost to taxpayers for the county to replace these signs, this is also a public safety issue and I urge anyone with any information, no matter how seemingly insignificant, to please call us. This is very concerning because when motorists can’t read these signs, it definitely creates opportunities for very serious accidents,” said Sheriff Matthew Myers.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's office at 812-379-1650, the tip line at 812-379-1712 or contact the department via email at sheriff@bartholomew.in.gov. Tipsters can remain anonymous.