Columbus fell prey to a prankster last week, but city officials aren’t laughing.
A solar-powered road sign designed to display custom messages was broken into and made to show the text “I’m Rick James, B....” A photo of the sign displaying the message — a catchphrase from a sketch by comedian Dave Chappelle — was posted to an online message board at Reddit.com.
Whoever hacked the sign would have had to break into its on-board control panel. From there, programming the display would have been easy, said Rick Tilton, assistant director of the Department of Public Service.
“It happens occasionally all across the country, so we’re not alone,” he said. “People need to understand that there’s nothing harmless about it, and it’s not funny. You’re dealing with a sign that’s supposed to be telling motorists and cyclists and pedestrians how to be safe.”
The sign was in a public parking lot at 618 N. High St., just north of Goodale Boulevard in the Short North. It hadn’t been activated yet but was supposed to be used to tell people that the lot and its 40 parking meters would be permanently shut down starting today for construction of a hotel.
By Rick Rouan - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
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