A 17-year-old South Carolina teenager is in custody after Sumter police say the teen digitally altered a state road sign with a racial slur.
The sign, since corrected, was located on South Pike West — “a highly trafficked area near Shoney’s” and the U.S. 76/378 bypass, according to Sumter Police.
The Sumter Police Department charged the male teenager with aggravated breach of peace. The police are not releasing the suspect’s name because he is a juvenile.
He is being held at the state’s Department of Juvenile Justice facility, according to the department.
Sumter police were told of the sign around 4:30 p.m. Saturday, according to the department.
The digital sign belonged to a private paving company contracted by the state Department of Transportation for a road improvement project. The police said they do not believe the paving company was involved in the incident.
“The words and thoughts in this altered message are disturbing, deeply hurtful and are not indicative of our city,” Sumter Police Chief Russell Roark said in a statement. “We had a responsibility to our citizens to act quickly in this matter. The damage can’t be undone, but it was important for us to hold the person responsible for this accountable and prevent further incidents like this from happening.”
Prior to charging the teenager, the department was offering an award of up to $5,000 for information about the vandalism. It wasn’t immediately clear if that reward was claimed.