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Prankster hacks into highway sign to protest dress code

By ERICA RODRIGUEZ
Aug. 18, 2010 at 3:18 a.m.


An electronic highway sign announced a message protesting the school district dress code after a late-night prankster broke into the sign's computer some time between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

"Somebody was against the dress code," said Randy Bena, area engineer with Texas Department of Transportation.

The electronic traffic sign, located along Loop 463 in front of Victoria East High School, usually has warnings about the new traffic lights. The prankster changed the sign to read, "The dress code sucks," followed by the word "Hampton."

Bena believes the name might belong to the prankster, but there's no way of knowing.

The prankster broke a lock securing the computer and hacked into the system, which Bena said takes specialized training to operate.

The sign was changed back about 7 a.m. Wednesday.

The prank could be considered criminal mischief, a Class B misdemeanor, depending upon a police investigation, said District Attorney Steve Tyler. A Class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to six months in jail, probation or a fine up to $2,000, he said.

Diane Boyett, communications director for the district, recommended anyone who disagrees with the policy to address the school board.

"But vandalism and such is not the appropriate way to express an opinion," she said.

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