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PHONE JACKS Busted ~ San Fernando Valley

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The alleged creator of one of the most prolific unauthorized items seen in the streets of Los Angeles over the past few years was busted in a sting operation late last year, Dana Bartholomew of the Daily News reported today. Who was this incredibly active vandal? It wasn't a street artist, it wasn't someone doing graffiti, and it wasn't an illegal muralist. No, it was Rickey Reed, who has put up thousands of PHONE JACKS signs all over Los Angeles for the past half-dozen years. The signs have been so ubiquitous that artist Free Humanity did a parody early last year (see below). The Daily News reports...

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We'd been trying to get him for a while," said code enforcement Chief Frank Bush, who said he cited Reed after he'd begun to measure the store for a phone installation. "He caused visual blight throughout the community.

"I've seen his signs all over the place - everywhere you drive."

Reed, 52, of Los Angeles, was charged with five counts of posting advertising signs on public property, for which he faces a pre-trial hearing on Wednesday.

If convicted of each count, he faces up to 2 1/2 years in jail and a $5,000 fine.

...Enter Don Cocek, a deputy city attorney for code enforcement.

He said it had been impossible to catch Reed, who allegedly hired day laborers to paste them up after dark.

So the City Attorney's Office set up the Nov. 16 sting, using Code Enforcement Division inspectors as a decoy carpet layer and office manager, who dialed Reed's advertised number.

Even after Reed was cited by Bush after showing up for the job, Cocek said, he posted two more illegal signs.

Top image by dmperkins, bottom image by Free Humanity.

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