Cops Deny Zombie Uprising Claims After Road Signs Hacked

Hacked Zombie Warning
“It appears that someone gained access to the sign and typed in their own messages,” police officials said. Springettsbury Township Police Department

Despite a traffic sign in Pennsylvania this week warning passing drivers "ZOMBIES AHEAD!! RUN!!!!", there have been no reports of an undead uprising, local police clarified.

Law enforcement from the Springettsbury Township Police Department found the hacked Department of Transport sign after being dispatched to East Market Street near Mount Zion Road at around 5 p.m. on Thursday, it confirmed in a Facebook update to citizens.

"It appears that someone gained access to the sign and typed in their own messages," police officials said in a brief statement posted online alongside an image of the sign. "We hope there was no public alarm today as there were no reports of zombies anywhere in Springettsbury Township."

USA Today reported that residents had complained about a second, much more explicit, road sign. Springettsbury Apartments resident Alexis Matthews said, "I have a kid. Luckily she can't read. I get it, it's a practical joke. The first part, about the zombies, was funny. [The second] was not appropriate. This is an older persons' community. I don't think anybody appreciated it."

Springettsbury police acknowledged the existence of a second message on Facebook. In the website's comment section, responding to a person claiming to have a picture of the X-rated caper, they wrote: "Let's just say the other message is not G-rated." Images on Twitter suggest that it read "Fist my ass."

This is far from the first time a U.S. traffic sign has been hacked by pranksters.

Earlier this year, the Pinal County Sheriff's Office in Arizona confirmed it was investigating a road sign that was hacked to read "Hail Hitler." PCSO spokesperson Navideh Forghani said at the time that drivers had seen the text, but deputies could not immediately turn it off because it was password-protected.

In 2016, three separate road signs belonging to the Texas Department of Transportation were tampered with to showcase political statements including "Bernie for President" and "Donald Trump Is a Shape-Shifting Lizard." Others proclaimed "Exit Closed" and "Work Is Canceled—Go Back Home."

Spokesperson Ryan LaFontaine stressed that such signs cannot be accessed remotely, meaning the culprits had to physically be there to change the text. "Any sort of tampering with that sort of stuff is a third-degree felony, and it's punishable," said LaFontaine, taking a more hard-line approach than Pennsylvania's cops. "We're talking prison time," he added. "It's not something that's taken lightly."