The Stop Sign Thief
In the four years of being a college student, I’ll admit to seeing my fair share of questionable activities. I remember once as a junior, I came across a person (let’s call him Gregg) who collected traffic signs. In his dorm, his walls were a collage of stop signs, no parking signs, handicapped markers and various other metal signs. Greggs collection wasn’t just a bunch of metal scattered around the walls of his room. They gave his tiny living space an artistic theme. I’m not really sure where Gregg got all of his signs from. The only logical assumption is that he took them from various points around the city. I suppose it is a relatively normal (but illegal) thing to steal a street sign that has your name on it, but this was much more. Each sign represented its own role of conduct. Together, all the traffic signs made up one unique art piece that symbolized how many laws we face on a day to day basis. I don’t think Gregg really had the intent to be artistic. His décor accidently showed just how many opportunities there are to break the law. They are literally at every street corner. To top it off, he probably stole them, making his collection of ways to break the law a form of breaking the law itself. These thousands of signs in every city represent just a fraction of the laws that exist. Stealing traffic signs is a misdemeanor punishable by heavy fines and up to a year in jail. I bet Gregg didn’t know that when he accidently became a criminal artist. As if it wasn’t odd enough, Gregg is just one person who broke the law creating art. An MIT art professor was sentenced to a year in prison for robbing a bank and filming the reaction of the bank teller just for an art film he was working on. Both Gregg and the MIT professor blurred the lines between art and crime.