Warning: Wild Panda Bear In Flagstaff?

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Monday morning commuters in Flagstaff, Arizona had a concerning drive due to a road sign prank which left most of them wondering just how to combat the threat. Personally, I think it was nothing less than hysterical, but then again… maybe that is why I don’t have a Monday morning work commute.

At around 3am, a by-passer alerted Flagstaff police that one of those electronic road signs along the shoulder had apparently been hacked and read: “ROGUE PANDA ON RAMPAGE” Oh come on people! That is so random and ridiculous… how could that not enrich your morning? According to AZDaily, “The Arizona Department of Transportation [who] controls the sign near the intersection of Fort Valley Road and Forest Avenue has been warning drivers about no left turns at the intersection. But at some point hackers took control to tell residents to be on the lookout for an ailuropoda melanoleuca, also known as a giant panda.”

Based on the police department’s response, I’m now starting to wonder what the average IQ point of the town is. “We want to assure all citizens of Flagstaff that there is no problem with rogue pandas,” said Lt. Ken Koch with the Flagstaff Police Department. They actually had to call a quick press conference to assuage the village people? Really? Just how worried will these sharp citizens be when some kids jokingly graffiti the bridge overpass and write: “BEWARE OF INCONTINENT PARROTS!”? The report does state that the lieutenant would like however to encourage people who spot an endangered specie roaming around the Flagstaff area to notify police. You hear that? If a bipolar mongoose pulls up next to you in traffic and seems lost, you know who to call now.

A spokeswoman for the transportation department (ADOT) said, “The sign was altered late Sunday night or early Monday morning and was restored to its original message by 11 a.m.” She isn’t sure how somebody could have hacked the system because specialized equipment is needed to change the words. And by specialized equipment, I’m guessing a tech-savvy 12-year old with an iPad could probably do the trick.

Either way, if you ask me, this was a funny – yet minor – inconvenience in the first place. According to the story, only approximately 500 motorists pass that stretch of road during the morning commute. That’s rush hour? I have that many per hour passing my LA apartment! And I’m on a side street! A rogue panda bear to spice things up might just be what they need. I say, start planting eucalyptus and hope for the best.

(Image from AZDaily)

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