An 18-foot-long welcome sign was taken in early September from the front lawn of the First Church in Oberlin.
The banner, which read “Welcome Back Students,” was on display at the corners of routes 58 and 511 for nearly two weeks before it was stolen.
The Rev. David Hill said this is the church’s fifth banner to be taken in the past 12 years.
The sign cost roughly $200.
Hill said church members have tried attaching the sign to the building and even securing it with metal stakes.
Though it’s sometimes been returned, “It’s been stolen more than we’ve had to replace it,” Hill said. The church has paid to replace the sign on three occasions.
“I don’t know who stole it,” he said. “I’ve never known who’s taken it. I’m not interested in pressing charges. I just want the banner back.”
Nor has he talked with police. The church is not interested in pressing charges.
Hill said the welcome sign is not just to embrace students who attend church. “It’s a way to express a welcome to the community,” he said.
He thought the banner would have resurfaced by now as it has in the past. If it is not returned, the church will have to purchase a new one by August.
Anyone that knows where the sign is located is encouraged to call the church at 440-775-1711 or drop the banner off at the office.
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.