Sheriff’s detective needs help in finding a stolen traffic control unit
On Thursday, July 29, a yellow electrical device commonly used to start and stop the flow of automobile traffic was lifted from a Boca Chico Road construction project on Big Coppitt Key.
Authorities are concerned the thief (or thieves) are a part of a FDOT splinter cell bent on eliminating traffic congestion along U.S. 1.
“Its all about control,” said an undercover Monroe County traffic enforcement officer.
“When you control traffic, you control people. These people are criminals should be considered extremely dangerous.”
Manufactured by the ACME Electrical Co. in Pinellas Park, FL the device three feet tall, with a red, yellow, and green lights. The unit is retrofitted with a high-tech satellite radio antenna and framed with 2 by 4s. The light is in “new condition” and valued at $4,000.
At first, authorities assumed the theft was committed by a Big Piner interested in sprucing up his/her outdoor tiki bar. (Big Pine residents are recognized as the industry leaders in tiki bar design, construction, and decoration.)
But just a few days ago, a homemade tape of a bearded man in sunglasses was delivered to authorities in the Lower Keys.
After locating one of the last operable VCRs in the county, traffic officers from local, state, and federal agencies declared the film “legitimate and troublesome.”
In a statement released to the media, authorities said the traffic vigilantes would be targeting congested areas in the Upper Keys before working their way to southernmost point. The 1 hour video manifesto included ramblings on efficiency, safety, and courtesy.
“We want to allow as many vehicles as possible through the intersection before responding to the presence of vehicles on another approach,” said video’s narrator.
Authorities are warning residents to adhere to all traffic signals – no matter how strange, or out of place they may seem.
If anyone knows where this light might be, contact Detective Manny Cuervo at 305-292-7060 or call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and will be eligible for a cash reward if their information leads to an arrest. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS and tips can be submitted on line at www.tipsubmit.com. Citizens should not attempt to apprehend or contain suspects.