The longtime sign that has served as a marker of help for those struggling with alcohol abuse in Burbank has been stolen.
The refurbished six-foot tall “243” number sign that hung outside the Burbank Alcoholics Anonymous meeting place on the 200 block of East Angeleno Avenue was stolen from a parking lot sometime between March 4 and March 7, officials said.
“Before the building was torn down, it was one of the only things we were able to save,” said the group’s secretary, Jane, who declined to give her last name due to confidentiality concerns. “Now the building is completely gone and it was all we had left.”
Jane, who has been a member of Alcoholics Anonymous for the past 10 years, called the blue sign a “beacon of hope” for people that came to the Burbank group for the past 60 years.
Burbank Police Sgt. Travis Irving said detectives have no leads on its whereabouts.
The Burbank chapter of the national support group relocated to the 3200 block of Winona when its original brick building on East Angeleno Avenue was scheduled for demolition during a makeover of downtown Burbank.
There was minimal security in the parking lot where the sign was waiting to be mounted right before it was stolen, Jane said.
The mounts and hardware to hang the sign had already been purchased and arrangements were made to hang the sign outside at eye level in the building’s courtyard, said Tom Pillard, a 25-year member of the group.
“I have a friend who has been involved now for 27 years who moved to Burbank 26 years ago,” said Pillard. “He remembers walking through downtown Burbank and the sign stood out for about two blocks.”
“That was very important and comforting to him,” he added.
The sign, which includes the number “243” and the universal Alcoholic Anonymous symbol — a triangle contained in a circle — was recently refurbished and restored to its original luster, Pillard said.
The sign may have been taken for scrap metal, he said.
But the loss to the group would be more than just financial, he added.
“The symbolism the sign gave to my friend that he wasn’t alone was strong,” Pillard said. “And it certainly helped me find the building my first time too.”