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Thought to have been stolen, Cambria signs were moved in apparent prank

Stephanie Stacy, YMCA staffer in Cambria, tells Deputy Brian Geremia on Sunday about the apparent theft of more than 70 heart-shaped signs made by children.
Stephanie Stacy, YMCA staffer in Cambria, tells Deputy Brian Geremia on Sunday about the apparent theft of more than 70 heart-shaped signs made by children. ktanner@thetribunenews.com

In an apparent prank originally taken seriously by authorities, more than 70 small, heart-shaped signs along Cambria’s Main Street were removed Saturday night, which could have left many young artist-creators heartbroken.

But the signs have been found and were set to be reinstalled Sunday night in their original roadside spots.

About 85 elementary school students in the town’s YMCA afterschool program made the signs to raise awareness of and money for their activities, summer-camp scholarships and 17 other local charities.

Each colorful roadside poster said “Thank you for ” and then something designated by the person who paid for the sign.

By early Sunday morning, of 100 signs installed Feb. 1, 29 were either left in place along the southern end of Main or moved in front of a downtown building.

It wasn’t until mid-afternoon Sunday that Cambrians learned the rest of the story, according to YMCA staffer Stephanie Stacy.

Apparently, whoever took the signs had carefully re-installed them on the lawn at the county’s Shamel Park, a relieved Stacy reported.

The county’s maintenance man had removed the signs and stacked them in a shed so he could mow, Stacy explained.

The monthlong posting of the heart-shaped signs, centered around Valentine’s Day, was designed to create a “happy-energy drive” along the main drag. The posting is to be an annual event, Stacy said.

The youngsters hand-painted the signs (adults drew most of the words) and gave presentations on the concept at service organization meetings as part of their “service learning project.”

The signs each cost $15, of which $5 covers expenses, $5 helps fund the Y program and $5 is designated by the buyer for another Cambria nonprofit. Sign orders are still being taken. (Call Stacy at 235-6915 or Cambria Grammar School at 927-4400 for details).

Stacy was to reinstall the signs Sunday evening, so children going to school today wouldn’t be brokenhearted to find their artworks gone.

Perhaps some good can come out of the episode, Stacy said. “Maybe we’ll make moving the signs an annual event, too.”

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