Bandit signs targeted in Philadelphia

All those nuisance signs attached to poles in Philadelphia are going to come down — or the owners will receive fines.

Known as “bandit” signs, they seem to be attached to virtually every pole in Philadelphia. Perhaps not for much longer if Brian Abernathy, the chief of staff for the city’s managing director, has his way.

He said a public private-partnership has mounted a concerted effort to remove the signs or fine those who are using the illicit advertising.

“The hardest part about bandit signs is figuring out who the perpetrators are,” he said. “Thanks to Verizon and PECO, we’ve been able to hire interns to do the research to make sure those folks are accountable and pay the citations they owe the city of Philadelphia.”

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Abernathy says the goal is to remove the clutter from the poles.

“There’s going to be a mixture of warnings and citations,” he said. “Our primary goal is compliance, this isn’t about making money for the city. So, in some cases, we will be issuing warnings.

“In other cases, for the very bad actors that a lot of us know, they will be receiving a citation for $75 for every sign,” he said.

The city is asking those who see signs in their neighborhood to take a picture of them and report them via e-mail to

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