Aug. 19, 2011 -- The Justin Bieber Way street sign that disappeared just days after a small Texas town allowed a preteen fan to rename a section of Main Street has been found.
Town officials said a small group of teen boys admitted taking the Bieber sign -- but not before a new sign was made for 11-year-old Caroline Gonzalez, who came up with the idea of renaming the street after winning the city's "mayor for a day" competition.
The teen boys returned the sign Thursday night and told police they had been playing around and hanging on the street sign when it accidentally broke from the post and fell to the ground.
"They had one of those big-eyed, oh-my-gosh, panic moments -- what do we do? -- and they ran off with the sign," said Forney, Texas, Mayor Darren Rozell, adding that officials are still deciding whether or not to press charges on the theft that took place sometime between Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.
Gonzalez was on hand Thursday when the duplicate sign was installed, but her family said the theft stole "some joy from her."
"Her eyes got watery," said Caroline's father, Tony Gonzalez, who told her about the theft Thursday morning as they drove to an orthodontist appointment.
The replacement sign was outfitted with a gold sticker seal signed by the mayor in an effort to authenticate it and prevent copycat thefts.
Caroline was selected as mayor for a day after winning a city Facebook contest for kids, and announced her plan to rename part of Main Street as Justine Bieber Way on Aug. 1.
Officials said the contest was intended to boost young people's interest in municipal government and bring attention to Forney.
Rozell said he never would have guessed how much attention the sign, which cost just $30.22, would bring to the town of just 15,000 people.
"I really think [that] for as much press as Justin Bieber is getting out of it, it wouldn't be that hard to swing by," Rozell said.
The mayor added that the story was picked up by papers in Europe and South America.
The town initially tried to contact Bieber, but failed. Now, officials are thinking of leaving the new sign up until the Biebs makes an appearance. Initially, the city had planned to have the sign up for just one day.
In addition, the Gonzalez family created a "Bring Justin Bieber to Forney" Facebook page that has more than 600 "likes" so far.