Thief Steals Signs Designed For The Blind

By Melissa Garcia

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Jefferson County deputies are investigating a series of thefts at Genesee Park.

The 2,000-acre park is close to Interstate 70 and exit 253.

Someone stole every sign for the visually impaired along the half-mile loop of the Braille Trail on the park’s north end.

trail braille theft 5pkg tra6587nsfer Thief Steals Signs Designed For The Blind

(credit: CBS)

Over the last few months, fences and signage at the trail have gone missing.

The trail’s interpretive signs in English and Braille disappeared last week. Whoever took the signs went to a lot of trouble to get them off.

“You had to want to; you had to have the right tools,” explained Ranger Dennis Brown of Denver Mountain Parks.

trail braille theft 5pkg0 transfer Thief Steals Signs Designed For The Blind

(credit: CBS)

Brown showed CBS4’s Melissa Garcia the empty metal stands that the interpretive signs had been removed from.

Temporary paper signs were posted where there used to be permanent plaques.

“They direct where people go,” Brown said. “And without those signs, people can get turned around or even lost.”

Even some of the guide wires used by the visually impaired were also ripped off.

trail braille theft 5pkg t567ransfer Thief Steals Signs Designed For The Blind

(credit: CBS)

“That just makes me frustrated and sad that someone would want to do that because it takes away part of the beauty of this place,” explained Nicki Zakroff, a visually impaired hiker.

Nicki brought her mom and dad there on Sunday to celebrate Mother’s Day.

Without the Braille signs, they were not able to read about the nature that surrounded them.

“It could explain to Nicki the kinds of things she would see: The foliage, the animals, the birds. And now we didn’t have that,” explained Elise Zakroff, Nicki’s mother.

“To have every single one of them taken, it’s mind boggling,” said Randy Zakroff, Nicki’s father.

trail braille theft 5pkg transfer Thief Steals Signs Designed For The Blind

(credit: CBS)

Brown said that the materials, while valuable to the park, would have a resell value of only scrap metal.

He wants the vandalism to stop.

“We would encourage people to come out and enjoy our parks, take care of our parks, help us maintain those parks so that everybody who comes out here has a good experience as well,” Brown added.

Denver Mountain Parks staff members expect to replace the signage within a couple of months. Denver taxpayers will foot the bill.

Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to mkgarcia@cbs.com.

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