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Councilman Introduces Bill To Crack Down on ‘Bandit’ Signs in Philly

(So-called "bandit" signs attached to a utility pole in Philadelphia.  File photo)

(So-called “bandit” signs attached to a utility pole in Philadelphia. File photo)

Mike Dunn Mike Dunn
Mike Dunn is City Hall bureau chief for KYW Newsradio 1060. He covers...
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By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There’s a new effort today to crack down on so-called “bandit” signs, those ugly signs, sometimes hand-written, you see attached to utility poles.

Sixth District councilman Bobby Henon says bandit signs -– usually offering cash for gold or cash for your home or car — are a constant and annoying nuisance in his district and throughout the city.  He has now introduced a bill that would double the fines to $150 in certain circumstances, and boosts the maximum fines that could be imposed by a judge if the matter ends up in court to $1,000 per sign.

More importantly, says Henon, the measure specifies that any resident can rip down a bandit sign without fear of being held liable.

“It gives the power to the people to actually take the signs down without any threat of retaliation or consequences,” Henon tells KYW Newsradio.

Henon’s effort comes a year after the Nutter administration launched its own effort to rein in bandit signs, with Streets Department crews taking down signs that they locate.

But the more difficult issue has been tracking down the people who post the signs.

The administration also used college interns to conduct research, but officials now admit that that effort had only minimal success, in part because the phone numbers listed on the signs are often for disposable cell phones.

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