Mississippi Crime of the Week – Destruction of Signs, Posts, or Boards

How in the world did someone climb at least 30 feet in the air, in the middle of Jackson, Mississippi, on the Interstate, in defiance of traffic cameras, and paint cryptic sayings on the overhanging signs?  And why did they write things like “Live in this moment,” and “This is the path we take,” instead of the standard “Hotty Toddy” or “Julie will you marry me?”  Whoever did it has created a stir, and has MDOT officials and the City Council mightily upset. 

The Clarion Ledger quotes Jackson City Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon as saying “I think this is not an image we want to project (about the city),” she said. “Not to mention it was a terribly dangerous situation for him as well as motorists, dangling over traffic like that.”  I’m playing amatuer sleuth here, but how does Councilwoman Barrett-Simon know the offender is a “him” instead of a “her.”  Hmmmm . . . 

All kidding aside, Section 97-15-1 of the Mississippi Code Annotated makes such actions a misdemeanor crime in the state of Mississippi.  The statute reads:

(1) Any person who shall willfully destroy, deface, mar, damage, pull down or remove any milepost, signboard, or index board, or road number, or railroad crossing sign or flasher signal, or other traffic control device shall, on conviction thereof, be liable for the actual cost of replacing or repairing such sign and shall be fined not less than Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00) nor more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), or be imprisoned in the county jail not more than six (6) months, or be punished by both such fine and imprisonment. If the offender is a minor, the parents of such minor shall be civilly liable in accordance with Section 93-13-2 for the actual cost of replacing or repairing the sign, signal or device.

(2) The penalties prescribed in subsection (1) of this section shall also be applicable to any person, and to the parents of any minor, who willfully defaces, mars or damages any bridge, underpass or overpass.

The state estimates the cost to make the repairs on the signs in Jackson to be $9000.00.  Ouch.