17-year-old charged after state sign altered to display racial slur in Sumter
SUMTER, S.C. (WIS) - The Sumter Police Department has charged a 17-year-old accused of tampering with a state sign and having it display a racial slur.
The suspect is considered a juvenile under S.C. law, so his name will not be released. He will be charged with aggravated breach of peace and is being held in a state Department of Juvenile Justice facility, according to Sumter police.
Officers obtained surveillance video of a man walking in the area of the sign that was tampered with.
Bruce Kneece with Convergent Information Security Solutions explained hacking into the sign is physically breaking a lock, and remotely just bypassing a password which is often the default password not even changed.
“I could do it, you could do it, he didn’t do anything special except make a fool out of himself,” said Kneece.
The sign was located on South Pike West near Shoney’s and US-76/378 bypass. It was placed there by the Department of transportation to alert drivers to an ongoing construction project, according to police.
Police say the sign belonged to a paving company involved with a road improvement project.
On Saturday, the sign was altered by the suspect to display an offensive statement. Officers were notified around 4:30 p.m. and the statement has been removed.
“We will investigate this to the fullest,” Chief Russell Roark said, describing the incident as extremely disturbing. “A scar on the city and its residents that is in no way indicative of the community where we work and live.”
The Sumter Police Department says the investigation is still ongoing at this time.
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