BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — If you drove the 198 on Monday morning, you probably saw a strange and unusual message. That’s because someone reprogrammed one of the LED roadwork signs. It may be all fun and games – but doing so could land you in some hot water.
New York State Police Trooper James O’Callaghan, Troop A Public Information Officer, said, “Whenever anyone takes it upon themselves to either mess with, remove, vandalize or replace a sign that’s not supposed to be there, or change an electronic sign to say something other than what it is specified to say what it or you will get arrested, and there is a crime involved with that ”
This LED sign was quite philosophical for drivers early this morning. It read “Its all a dream”. Someone got into the control panel and made some “changes”. Trooper O’Callaghan says a crime like this could carry charges like criminal mischief, tampering, and trespassing
“Which is punishable up to a year in jail with a minimum $1000 fine, and if these damages go over $250, you could be looking at a felony charge which is a lot more substantial as far as the fine and the jail time.”, said Trooper O’Callaghan.
Usually, “digital” vandals have to cut a lock or pry a door open to pull off a stunt like this. But on the tampered sign on the 198, it’s not known if the person behind this prank picked the lock -or- just took advantage of an unlocked panel. Either way, if the person is caught they could be facing some serious consequences, and ultimately – it puts the safety of drivers at risk.
Trooper O’Callaghan said, “It’s information for that driver on that roadway at that time, it’s giving them a message that something is going to happen on this roadway they need to be aware of, otherwise the sign wouldn’t be there.”