Platteville police have come up with a colorful way to catch thieves stealing street signs.
"About a week and a half ago we started using the theft detection paste," said police chief Doug McKinley.
City crews have started applying an anti-theft paste to street signs in the University of Wisconsin-Platteville area. They say it's been a problem -- losing five to 10 street signs per week to thefts or vandalism.
If someone tries to steal a street sign, their hands will come in contact with the paste, causing the thief to be caught purple-handed. The purple paste won't wash off for two or three days.
Platteville officials say they think most of the people taking the signs are just looking for a thrill, but that thrill is costing the city money.
"The signs are between $100 and $150, uh, to replace and then it takes a guy away from doing other stuff. We do all in-house our own signs and stuff," said Platteville street supervisor, Bill Johnson.
Police are also concerned about safety.
"If you had a stop sign at an intersection that was removed, you can potentially have a very bad accident result, we've been trying to deter it by any means necessary," said Chief McKinley.
Authorities say if you happen to notice someone with purple hands, contact the Platteville Police Department.