NBC10.com - Ted Greenberg
Officials are investigating an unusual case of vandalism on a South Jersey state road. Several drivers noticed a vulgar message displayed on an electronic highway sign on Route 49. NBC10's Ted Greenberg has the story.
A%!ville Next Left.
That’s the message (albeit not censored) that greeted drivers as they passed a digital construction sign along busy State Route 49 in Upper Township, N.J. this weekend.
“That’s sinful. That’s not right,” said Helen Tambourino, a resident of campground near the sign.
The digital sign, which the New Jersey Department of Transportation says belongs to contractor South State Incorporated, was tampered with by a vandal who was able to gain access to the controls, officials told NBC10.com. The message was supposed to warn drivers about a change in traffic patterns up ahead.
“I come down here to escape, not put up with stuff like that,” said resident Al Lund.
The NJDOT said the company went and removed the message last night after residents called to complain about the offensive message. A receptionist at South State Incorporated simply said the message had been fixed, but would not comment further.
NJDOT did not respond to questions as to whether the sign’s controls were left unsecured or if someone broke into the control box. Police are not investigating the incident.
While the message had been changed Sunday night, NBC10.com found the control box unlocked and partially open on Monday morning.
Upper Township Mayor Rich Palombo said road crews need to make a better effort to ensure the sign’s controls are secured.
“If somebody can break into it, and easily change the information on here, it could happen to any town,” he said.