A Person Seen Taking A Traffic Light In My City Is As Janky As The City Itself

Illustration for article titled A Person Seen Taking A Traffic Light In My City Is As Janky As The City Itself
Image: Instagram: Moreno Valley Matters

Someone in my neighborhood has a rather expansive view of finders-keepers. On Thursday morning, a BMW driver snagged a city traffic light that had been knocked into the street.

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This is just another of the crazy things that go on where I live, in Moreno Valley, California. This suburb of just over 220,000 is home to the March Air Reserve Base and Karma Motors (like either of those things is something to brag about). To see what craziness happens, all one has to do is follow the local happenings page called Moreno Valley Matters. A combo of Facebook and Instagram posts shows everything going on in here, from cars being driven into people’s homes to car accidents to crime to local news.

A post yesterday morning, though, took what little cake there is left in this city.

Illustration for article titled A Person Seen Taking A Traffic Light In My City Is As Janky As The City Itself
Image: Facebook: Moreno Valley Matters

As seen in the dashcam photos above and below, a truck with a built-in crane was traveling down Perris Boulevard. The crane apparently hadn’t been lowered enough, because as the truck passed under the traffic light the crane hit it and knocked it into the street. Rather than alert city officials to what happened, the truck’s driver kept going as if everything was fine.

Illustration for article titled A Person Seen Taking A Traffic Light In My City Is As Janky As The City Itself
Image: Facebook: Moreno Valley Matters

The truck driver simply left the traffic light — a substantial chunk of metal a few feet long — in the street. It stayed there for hours. That is until someone came along and thought to take it.

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The last anyone saw of the light, it was sticking out of the trunk of that black BMW, heading who knows where. I have so many questions.

For what purpose would someone be taking a traffic light? The only thing I can think of is to make a cool ass decoration in someone’s home. Maybe they are thinking of flipping it online? Try to get the city to buy it back from them? Who knows? So far, the person taking the signal has not been publicly identified.

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If I was the one that had taken I’d do one of two things. Flipping it would make sense. While a newly installed traffic light costs hundreds of thousands of dollars from purchase to installation, they can go for a couple of hundred bucks on sites like eBay. However, I think it would look better sitting on the wall of a man cave or home bar.

The signal crashing to the street and being taken home  by a motorist is a prime example of the bigger problems this city has. From a widely hated logistics complex the size of 700 football fields that been tied up in red tape for nearly 10 years to an understaffed police department, Moreno Valley is a study in what happens when urban problems make their way into a suburban area.

Staff Writer at Jalopnik. Dad. Lover of all things with 4 wheels. Weird interest in buses.

DISCUSSION

I figure it’s a college student. Traffic lights of any sort attract drunk college kids like moths to a flame.

In my senior year, a friend opened the closet door of his apartment and he had a ton of barricades. He’d start off a Friday night with “I think I’ll have a beer” and wake up surrounded by blinking barricades with no idea where they came from. Hung over, he’d shove them in the closet and forget about them. 3 years of binge drinking was summed up like this.