Spoofed sign warns of 'Rogue Panda on Rampage'

Spoofed sign warns of 'Rogue Panda on Rampage'

Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

A highway sign Highway 180 in Flagstaff, Ariz warns passing motorists of a rogue Panda Bear, Monday, Aug. 22 2011. Authorities in Flagstaff, Ariz., are assuring residents there are no rogue pandas roaming the city after some pranksters got creative with an electronic street sign. (AP Photo/Arizona Daily Sun, Jke Bacon)

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by Jim Jagneaux

azfamily.com

Posted on August 23, 2011 at 9:52 AM

Updated Thursday, Oct 24 at 1:16 PM

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- Commuters near Flagstaff were cautioned to be on the look out for a "rogue panda on a rampage" on Monday. 

That was the message that appeared on an electronic road sign near Fort Valley Road and Forest Avenue. 

If you're thinking northern Arizona isn't really known for it's panda bear population, (especially the rampaging type) -- you are correct.  The menacing message was only a prank, possibly perpetrated by hackers.

A spokesman from the Flagstaff Police Department put the word out to area residents and the media: Flagstaff is 100% free of rogue pandas. 

The pranksters accessed the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) sign sometime Sunday night or early Monday morning.  The sign was originally displaying a message that warned drivers about left turns at the busy intersection.

An alert passerby contacted police after seeing the rampaging panda message at around 3 a.m. Monday morning.  By late-morning, the sign had been restored to its original message.

ADOT and police are investigating the incident.  Since accessing the sign requires specialized equipment, the list of possible panda pranksters could be a short one. 


 

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