BELOIT, Wis. - They've become a way for Rock County residents to show their support for local law enforcement, but in Beloit, signs proclaiming "We Back the Badge" are getting stolen, police said in Facebook posts this week.
In one of the posts, Beloit police Sgt. Ryan Flanagan said police believe two young women are removing and destroying the signs, posted in front yards and outside of local businesses.
"We know who they are, but hope that they will correct their behavior without our guidance,” Flanagan’s post said.
Rod Gottfredsen, owner of Austin’s Barber Shop in downtown Beloit, said he plans to keep his “We Back the Badge” sign out in front of his business to show support to officers.
"I'm very supportive of our men in blue; I have very close friends who are police officers and customers and I just want to show support,” Gottfredsen said. "I will probably take the sign in every night though and put it back out during the day when I can keep my eye on it looking out my window here."
Beloit resident Tim Barlow said he also plans to keep his sign up and doesn’t understand why anyone would steal them.
“I don't know what they'd do with them or why they'd want to steal them,” Barlow said. “To me this just shows my support for everything that they do for us."
Police said they are looking to see if they can get replacement signs for those who had signs stolen.
“Apparently there are other companies near by that make and sell similar signs, but we don't have access to them,” Flanagan posted. “(The original company) printed 2,000 for the county and they are out now.”
Both Gottfredsen and Barlow had a message for those behind the thefts.
"I hope they have a change of heart and really realize how important the men in blue are and just knock it off," Gottfredsen said.
"Just leave (the signs) alone," Barlow said.