Is it illegal to steal a traffic cone? (3 state laws + fines) (2023)

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Growing up in a small town had some interesting quirks. One of them were kids who would go out after school to steal the city's traffic cones as a prank. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to take part in their exciting activity, but who would have thought that robbing city property for a group of 16-year-olds is a joke. I guess at the time they didn't think about the repercussions of their actions, but I always wondered if they would have been in trouble if they had been caught. I found this when searching.

Yes, just like stealing anything, stealing traffic cones is illegal. If you are caught in the act or afterwards, it will be considered theft of city property and punishable by fines or even imprisonment. In some cases, the penalty is higher if the stolen cones were used to intentionally block traffic or cause harm to others. It is better to find safer and more legal ways to either buy or rent a traffic cone from a company/city.

Well, this answer might not have convinced you not to go out and steal a traffic cone. If you need more reasons, read on.

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What does the law say?

The law is pretty clear on theft. Taking something with you without permission is considered theft and is a punishable offence. Traffic cones are usually state or local authorities, so any theft is a criminal offense. States have different penalties for stealing traffic cones depending on how many were taken and what was done to them after they were taken.

Maybe someday I'll go and add each of the state statutes, but at this point I've compiled the Virginia and Florida statutes on city property theft.

These are the possible penalties:

  • VirginiaThe law states: "Any person who willfully defaces, damages, knocks down, or unauthorizedly interferes with the effective operation of a traffic control device or road direction sign mounted to assist in the identification of addresses associated with the 9-1-1 Enhanced, or remove it. service in the sense of§ 56-484.12is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.”
  • FloridaThe law states: “A person shall not, without lawful authority, attempt on himself or actually alter, deface, injure, strike down or remove any official traffic control device or railway mark or signal, or any inscription, shield or insignia, any other part thereof. A breach of this paragraph is a criminal offense accs. 318.17and will be penalized according to the provisions ofs. 806.13in connection with criminal mischief and graffiti on or after July 1, 2000."
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As you can see, when you get caught stealing, it's not a good time.

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Why would anyone steal a traffic cone?

Is it illegal to steal a traffic cone? (3 state laws + fines) (1)

Someone who thinks clearly and about his future would not steal a traffic cone. This section is for the kind of people who enjoy breaking the rules or impressing their friends.

As you can see, I don't have the same thought process as someone who would steal a traffic cone, so I reached out to my little brother and asked why people participate.

These are some of the reasons he told me:

  • meanness:Some may steal traffic cones out of spite or as a prank. They usually try to look good in front of their friends.
  • selfishness:Others can steal them to block parking lots or roads for their own convenience. Some people are just mad that their path is blocked, so they take the time to take the road cones so they don't have to turn around.
  • Benefit:Traffic cones don't come cheap, and some thieves even try to sell stolen traffic cones for a profit. The crazy thing is they can cost a whopping $10 online so I can't imagine what the win would be for these guys.

As you can see, these aren't good reasons, but the people who do or have done it seemed like good ideas at the time. Next, I'll explain why you shouldn't steal a traffic cone and talk him into coming back in and hanging out.

Why you shouldn't steal a traffic cone

It feels a little strange writing these articles and I feel like I'm giving a How to Be a Good Citizen seminar. Below I have listed a few different reasons why stealing a traffic cone would not be a good idea, hopefully they will convince you.

Are here:

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  • Other security:Think about where you got the traffic cone from. Is it potentially causing an unsafe driving experience for someone? Most cones are placed so traffic knows where to go or is warned of potential hazards. If you take this cone you create a potential safety issue for others.
  • The law:As mentioned above, stealing traffic cones is illegal and punishable by fines or imprisonment. It's just not worth risking the consequences of something like that.
  • Cost and time:Food for thought: If you pay taxes in your town, chances are you're still paying for that waffle you stole. This time only as a replacement as stolen traffic cones can be expensive and time consuming for cities or even individual businesses to replace. Ultimately, the costs are passed on to taxpayers or customers.
See also Is it illegal to hit a deer and walk away?

Reading them now, they seem like excellent reasons not to steal a traffic cone.

How do you legally get a traffic cone?

Is it illegal to steal a traffic cone? (3 state laws + fines) (2)

Now you don't have to steal to get your hands on a traffic cone. There are actually some pretty good ways to get your hands on one of these bad guys.

Below I've listed a few ways you can get a reliable traffic cone.

  • Contact your local government:The best and most legal way to get a traffic cone is to contact your local government, such as: B. the city or the district to contact. They may be able to provide you with one for temporary use or direct you where to purchase it.
  • Rent from a company:Many companies, such as construction or event planning companies, rent traffic cones for a fee.
  • Buy from a retailer:Traffic cones can also be purchased from various retailers, both in person and online. However, please note that these cones may not meet standards for official highway or emergency use.

In general, stealing a traffic cone isn't worth the potential consequences, and there are alternative ways to get one for your own use. Remember to always obey the law and check with your local authorities for the proper use of traffic cones to ensure your safety and the safety of others.


Stealing a traffic cone is illegal and punishable by fines or imprisonment. It is always better to contact your local government for temporary use of city property than to risk breaking the law.

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Don't be silly, if you're thinking of stealing one, don't. There's no purpose other than getting caught and getting a stressful time on your plate.

Interested in more criminal law articles? Check out ourscriminal defensebook page.

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