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Zombie Prank At Construction Site Can Lead To Year In Jail For Hacker

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An electronic message board on Auburn Street in Portland, Maine had this message on it Wednesday morning.  (credit: WGME-TV)

An electronic message board on Auburn Street in Portland, Maine had this message on it Wednesday morning. (credit: WGME-TV)

PORTLAND, Maine (CBS Connecticut/AP) – Drivers may have gotten a chuckle out of an electronic message board in Maine warning of zombies, but city officials were not amused.

The sign at a Portland road construction site was changed by a hacker to read “Warning Zombies Ahead!” on Wednesday morning. It originally read “Night work 8 pm-6 am. Expect delays.”

City spokeswoman Nicole Clegg told The Portland Press Herald the signs are a safety precaution and changing it could have led to driver distraction. She added tampering with a safety device is a Class D misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

“These are deployed and used as a safety precaution. They’re not a toy,” Clegg told the Press Herald. “We don’t want people to be distracted. We take this kind of crime seriously.”

She says it’s not clear who changed the sign, but it’s not the first time it has happened.

Multiple media reports have stated that earlier in the year a message read “Sleeping Snorlax Ahead,” while another mentioned gnomes and disparaging remarks about the Boston Red Sox.

The Maine Department of Transportation controls the signs and quickly changed it back to its original alert.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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