A North Vancouver family was disappointed recently when they discovered that their homemade Bart Simpson-themed speed limit sign had been ripped from its perch in front of their house in the middle of the night.
While the wanton mischievousness of the theft itself might seem like the kind of prank the shorts-wearing, spiky-haired young rabble rouser of the beloved sitcom would pull off himself, in reality it’s been no laughing matter for Brad Stringer and his kids.
“The kids lost their mother just about a year ago. We did this sign as a fun thing to do together and we put a lot of work into it. It’s disconcerting that someone would steal a sign that was clearly handmade and in good humour. It was just meant to support slower traffic speeds and a better neighbourhood,” says Stringer.
The Cove Cliff neighbourhood resident received an outpouring of support when he posted news of the sign theft on a local crime watch Facebook page after the incident occurred on Aug. 21.
Stringer says he was inspired to build the sign – which points to the 30-kilometre-per-hour speed limit along Strathcona Road with the top half of Springfield’s favourite 10-year-old boy emerging at the top of the sign with a beaming smile – in order to remind motorists of the new speed limit.
“I was thinking about putting some more hostile signs out. But the district actually changed the speed limit on Strathcona maybe six months ago. They put up 30-km signs after many years of residents around here campaigning to get the speed limit reduced,” says Stringer. “They changed it and they did a lot of work, they put up these signs which was great. But still, I’d say there was only about 50 per cent adherence to the speed limit. People were still speeding getting used to the new speed limit, so I figured I’d augment their efforts and just put something a little catchier and a little more homemade that people would actually pay attention to.”
Stringer’s property is across the street from a park and adjacent to nearby Seycove Secondary.
He says he and his kids had a lot of fun making the sign together, with the kids helping in particular with the painting portion of the project.
It took them about a month to make the sign and it had only been up for about three weeks when it was taken.
Stringer has filed a police report and checked with the District of North Vancouver about his wayward Simpsons’ sign.
“It was actually weighted down with a big cinderblock that I’d table locked to part of the supporting structure of the back. The sign itself was very heavy. It was not easy to move,” he says.
In the meantime, Stringer has erected a new sign in front of his house. In plain black and white writing, it reads: WHO STOLE MY KIDS BART SIGN.
While Stringer stopped short of telling the would-be thieves to eat his shorts, he does have another message for the sign bandits: “Don’t touch stuff that isn’t yours.”