LINCOLNTON, N.C. (AP) — Deputies say 12 road signs have been stolen in a North Carolina county.

The Hickory Daily Record reported Thursday that each one of the signs stolen in the last week costs taxpayers roughly $200 to replace.

A Lincoln County Sheriff's Office statement says the thefts create confusion for drivers and endanger lives. Authorities say the signs are vital in helping emergency services personnel find homes and businesses and that the thefts could slow response times.

Road sign theft costs the county about $25,000 per year. The stolen signs are often used as decoration or sold for scrap metal because of their aluminum base.

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Information from: The Hickory Daily Record, http://www.hickoryrecord.com